Music streaming service Spotify is a massive hit in Europe; millions of music-lovers use its desktop and mobile applications to stream and listen to hundreds of thousands of tracks. And for a while now, many in the U.S. have been anticipation the launch of the service there, but after two missed deadlines already, it now seems that Apple could play a part in halting the launch of the service there.
Spotify’s latest self-imposed deadline is the end of this year. Managers of the service say that before the year ends, they’ll finally have licensing deals in place with four largest record labels: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and EMI Music. Despite these plans, several music industry sources say that that the service is facing an assortment of obstacles, and that there is little chance that it will arrive in the U.S. by December 31st.
One of their obstacles is rumoured to be Apple: some believe that the computer giant is worried what effect the free music service will have on its already flattening music sales through iTunes, despite it being the largest digital music store in the country. CNET reports that Apple execs have warned music labels at a meeting in Los Angeles that “they had serious doubts about whether Spotify’s business model could ever generate significant revenues of profits.”
The Cupertino company could also be worried that Spotify will affect the success of the cloud-based subscription service they are supposedly planning to launch. Plans for this service have been backed up by the giant data-centre Apple is currently building in North Corolina.
Apple may have reason to be worried, however: Spotify is already a huge hit in many parts of the world, and the €10 its customers pay each month for the premium service isn’t very expensive. The service also boasts a social aspect, which is way ahead of Apple’s Ping – the main reason being that you can listen in full, for free, to any song a friend shares with you.
Whether Spotify succeeds in the U.S. or not, it will be damaging to iTunes: if the service is a huge success, it’s competition – if it’s a major flop, Apple will have trouble convincing the record labels to sign up to its own streaming service.