With Apple stuck between the FCC, Eurpean Union regulators and a hard place, I’m not that surprised to see the approval of music streaming service Spotify’s iPhone app. Apple today confirmed to paidContent that Spotify (currently Europe-only) has been given the green light and will be available in the App Store “very soon”.
While many had speculated that the app might be rejected by Cupertino on the grounds of ‘duplicating’ (read: competing with) the iPhone’s built in functionality — iTunes — I was confident that, especially in the current climate, Spotify would be approved.
I predict that Apple will in the end give Spotify the green light based on several factors. Avoiding monopoly accusations being one. Spotify’s pricing model being another (the iPhone app will only be available to premium subscribers so it’s far from a free-for-all). And then there’s Apple’s kludgy multitasking solution. The latter of which means that Spotify on iPhone will be unable to run in the background. Switch to a different app and the music stops.
One thing we don’t yet know, however, is if Apple has in anyway restricted any of the features of the Spotify iPhone app, in particular the ability to cache playlists for off-line playback. This feature alone means that Spotify competes more heavily with iTunes than other streaming music apps that already exist for the iPhone.
Overall though it looks like great news for Spotify and bodes well for the future of Rhapsody’s iPhone app, which is currently pending Apple’s approval.