Spotify launches new apps, as Universal again defends the service

By | Published on Thursday 22 March 2012


Hey fans of Spotify’s apps! You – yes, you – this story is for you. The streaming service is adding a bucket of extra apps for its users to access, including add-on applications from a number of record companies, including Warner, Universal’s Def Jam, Domino, Matador and [PIAS]. Also joining the party is an app called TweetVine which creates playlists based on Twitter, and Digster and Filtr, which both recommend tracks based on your Facebook activity.

Many agree that Spotify’s apps platform has great potential to expand the reach, appeal and sell-through functionality of the streaming service, while others have noted that third party apps properly bring music recommendation into the mix, something Spotify has never been great at. That said, uptake on the initial raft of apps that went live last year has been mixed, and some fear the app frenzy over complicates what has been to date a very simple content player.

Elsewhere in Spotify news, Universal Music has again disputed claims by some artists and smaller labels that a presence on the streaming service can have a negative impact on iTunes sales. Some smaller rights owners have or are considering removing their content from Spotify because the royalties are tiny and they fear being on the streaming platform hits iTunes returns.

But Universal Music has been a defender of Spotify throughout that debate, and yesterday the major’s Paul Smernicki did some more defending at a Guardian conference. According to Music Ally, Smernick told the conference: “We’ve looked really really hard for evidence of cannibalisation, almost unobjectively. Across the business, we’ve been unable to find that evidence. And in [European] markets where Spotify has launched, the growth in the digital business has been about 40%, in territories where it doesn’t it’s around 10%. There’s a healthy ecosystem and it can be served by many of those services”.

Of course the majors have a stake in Spotify so aren’t totally unbiased on this issue, though many independent labels and distributors with no equity stake have likewise stuck up for the streaming platform, arguing that royalties do build over time, and the industry at large can only benefit from subscription services being successful long term.

Music Ally has a full report on the music session at The Guardian’s Changing Media Summit here.