The internet music application everyone loves, Spotify, has released an app for Symbian phones. The new app was created in conjunction with UI design firm The Astonishing Tribe (TAT). The technology behind the new app has been used to produce a number of user interfaces across the mobile and desktop spaces. The Symbian platform is the most widely used mobile OS in the world at this time, so this entry was certainly overdue.
The release of this app means that the 250 million users of S60 devices running 9.2 or later can enjoy the Spotify service. “We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Spotify to help realize their visions for a mobile version that can now reach hundreds of millions of music lovers that use Symbian based phones,” said Charlotta Falvin, CEO of TAT. Regardless of your feelings about Symbian, that’s more than can be said for US music lovers. Spotify is still only available in Europe.
What not to expect, says Arrington, is a service similar to the one Google presently has in China. This services allows users to search for songs by song, artist, or album title, and download the licensed music files for free. (Why can’t we have that here?) According to paidContent.org, the revenue stream, split with the Chinese music company Top100.cn, comes from ads.
As rumors go this one is not a big surprise: there’s some serious coin to be made in music downloads, and it would have been more of a surprise if Google didn’t make this move. However, the entrant of another heavyweight into an increasingly crowded marketplace, even without Spotify’s impending entrance, raises questions about how many will actually survive.
Update: First screenshots of Google's music service after the jump.
Spotify is scheduled to launch in the US later this year, or early 2010, but the details of how it will work stateside are still up in the air. In Europe the free version is ad supported, and the ad-free version runs €10 (about $16.60) per month. Due to the competition Spotify faces in the US from services like Pandora, the London based firm is considering a single “freemium” service. Users would be able to pay for specific features.
The service allows users to browse and play any of over 6 million tracks. It even supports offline caching for those times when an Internet connection isn’t available. There is no word yet on the fate of these details for a US release. Licensing negotiations are currently all that stand in the way of US access.
It's no secret that the music industry has been in a bit of a bind over the past decade or so: they claim illegal downloading has lost them millions in sales while distribution deals with companies like Apple have left the labels feeling as though they've lost control over pricing.
Meanwhile, consumers have seemingly endless ways to download, stream and discover music. Streaming sites like Pandora, Blip.fm, Hype Machine and Last.fm are all great ways to listen to music from your browser while you're online, but picking specific artists to stream can be a haphazard process. Buying music presents a whole new set of problems, with companies (iTunes, Rhapsody, eMusic, Amazon, Zune Marketplace) that all offer different pricing models and collections of artists.
Spotify (Windows, Mac, Linux, Free BSD), which has had a popular debut in Europe and the UK, is a new music service that hopes to streamline the way we both stream and purchase new music. The company was launched with the blessing of several major labels, in a refreshingly forward-thinking move on the part of the music industry. Because of this, Spotify is able to stream full, high-quality tracks from these labels without fear of retribution. Though not yet available in the US, we got our hands on a beta-code to test out the service.
Microsoft is preparing to launch a music streaming service by the end of July. Peter Bale, executive producer of MSN, told UK’s Telegraph about Microsoft’s plans to foray into the music streaming industry in the UK. Its service will rival Spotify – European company that provides both ad-supported music streaming and paid downloads. In fact, Bale said that Microsoft’s music streaming service will mimic Spotify’s revenue model.
“We are looking at how other similar businesses have structured their business models and trying to figure out what will work best for both consumer and Mircosoft.” Bale said. He added that the service may eventually become associated with the Xbox 360, though he would not say how.