Thursday, May 05, 2011

Spotify's New Moves -- No Threat to iTunes

Euro-based online music darling Spotify -- long a press favorite -- just introduced a new set of features that are said to directly target industry behemoth iTunes (click here to read a nice overview of these new features). In bombastic fashion, TechCrunch says of Spotify's new move, iPod "meet your new rival." And, Gigaom calls Spotify a meaningful threat to iTunes.

Here's the thing -- I don't think the folks from Cupertino, and Steve Jobs in particular, are losing any sleep over Spotify. I certainly don't believe (unlike the writer at Gigaom) that Apple will change one thing about its iTunes strategy as a result.

I for one have never understood Spotify's Svengali-like effect on the US tech press (and have written about this frequently). For years now, Spotify has threatened to enter the US market -- but, here we are, and still no Spotify. And, has anyone ever really dug into and challenged its subscription numbers (for churn, etc.)? I have never seen that. What's so different about Spotify in the first place? How does Spotify really differ from not only iTunes (which it can't), but also Rhapsody, Napster, Slacker -- and new online music "big boyz" such as Amazon -- and a long list of others. It hasn't, and it can't.

I, for one, remain a skeptic (although I continue to admire Spotify's PR machine -- that is one place where the service has absolutely differentiated itself by getting much more positive ink than virtually all other music services combined!).

Steve Jobs, undoubtedly, slept just fine last night.