Ed Christman:

Apple has opened exploratory talks with senior label executives about the possibility of launching an on-demand streaming service that would rival Spotify and Beats Music, according to three people familiar with the talks. Apple is also thinking about adding an iTunes App for Android phones, the Google rival that has been growing faster than the iPhone, these sources said. The surprising discussions are part of a multi-pronged strategy to deal with the double-digit decline in U.S. download sales at Apple’s iTunes Music Store, the largest music retailer.

I’d be surprised to see iTunes for Android — I know, I know, there is iTunes for Windows. But this is an entirely different battleground.

I’d be not-at-all surprised to see a “Spotify-like” version of iTunes. I’m not shocked it hasn’t happened yet given how dominant Apple is in music sales, but it’s so obviously the way of the future. My bet is next year.

Mike Masnick:

Ministry of Sound, the well-known nightclub/record label in London that puts together various compilations of dance music is suing Spotify, claiming copyright infringement in a case that will fascinate copyright fanatics. This one goes a few layers deep, so stick with it: MoS is not suing because the music on Spotify is unauthorized. Nor is it suing because of anything that Spotify itself did. Rather, it’s suing because some users of Spotify have put together and published “playlists” (a feature found on pretty much any music playing software ever) that mimic some of the compilations that MoS has released. Again, the music itself is all legally authorized and licensed to be on Spotify. The complaint from MoS is merely that some Spotify users have put them together in the same order.

Probably a bad sign if your business is so reliant on the order in which music is ordered that you feel compelled to sue to protect such nonsense.

Cue the U.S. digital music scene getting a lot more interesting.

Though “Any track, any time, anywhere. And it’s free!” is a bit misleading — you pay to remove ads and/or to use it on a mobile device. And the U.S. launch might have other restrictions as well — we’ll see.

Also, why put up a splash page with a pre-announcement? Perhaps they’re just waiting on Facebook now — you’ll note the first quote under “What people are saying about Spotify”.

That (unstated) deal is going to be massive.

Ethan Kaplan:

The biggest challenge facing the music business is not necessarily piracy or the competition of attention for fan’s money and time, it’s making an experience joyful for people.


People used to go to Tower Records on a Saturday morning, and leave with a three foot stack of LP’s. There was a visceral pleasure in that act.

Totally agree. I used to camp out at stores for midnight album releases. Or I’d wake up early before school to get to a store when it opened for a new CD I wanted. 

Music as an artform hasn’t fundamentally changed, so why has that changed? Shit products. Or, more fairly, products turned to shit by a terrified music industry.

That’s why there’s so much excitement surrounding Spotify. It wasn’t built from the ground up to appease the record labels. It was built to please music fans. And that’s why it’s been such a pain in the ass bringing it to the U.S.

Hopefully, that’s about to change.

I’d also argue that the reason iTunes took off is because Apple is the only company with the gall (or nerve) to not fully capitulate to the labels and still get some of what they want. But even iTunes is/was far from perfect. Notice how it took years before they got to kill DRM, after iTunes was already a huge success and they had leverage. Now we’re starting to get the cloud…

Google and Amazon have been battling for what they want, but so far, they’re not getting it. And there are no signs of that changing anytime soon. 

Mike Arrington:

And these aren’t your standard Netflix/Amazon/iTunes type movie deals, either, we’ve heard. Spotify is aiming to offer users much earlier access to movies. Similar to the release dates that hotel’s get for premium in-room movies. They’re expensive, but users can often see them just a couple of weeks after they’ve been in theaters.

Smart move. I’d pay for that.