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Spotify vs iTunes vs Omnifone

Last night I wanted to listen to a song. I’d heard it on the radio and decided I’d ‘get it’.

Normally that means a quick search on iTunes and then a ‘buy’ click. Then I need to wait a few seconds for it to actually download.

Last night I had done the iTunes search, located the song… and then I thought, ‘I’ll get it quicker, if I use [new music streaming service] Spotify‘.

So I did an Alt-Tab and typed the artist’s name into Spotify. Then I pressed play.

Job done.

The only regret… I can’t take that song with me when I’m out.

So I had a look on Spotify.com … only for Mac OS or Windows… with a Linux hack. No mention of any mobile clients. Then I saw the jobs page:

Right on.

S60? Love it. Android? Nice. iPhone? Now I wonder how nicely Apple’s App Store reviewers will play with that.

I made a switch in my mind last night — from iTunes to Spotify. I’m seriously considering the premium upgrade although I’m not entirely clear what value it gives me — interestingly, I like the ads they play.

But I’ve made a switch — huge surprise. I have always been iTunes-all-the-way. And, in reality, if I want that track to be able to listen to whilst on-the-go, I still need to be.

But it shouldn’t be long until Spotify has a mobile client I can use. And when that’s arrived, just how much of a fan will I be with iTunes?

Spotify is very similar to Omnifone‘s MusicStation music product — simply the best implementation of mobile music I’ve ever seen. I wonder what the launch of Spotify will do to their business, particularly as Spotify are clearly considering launching mobile clients.

And if they’re going to do that, how long before they knock-out some deals with desperate-to-be-cool-and-relevant mobile operators?

I love the fact that my Spotify account works on any machine I’d care to use. When I was in France the other week, I flicked up spotify.com on my Apple Air and downloaded the client, logged in with my username and password — and woosh, there were my playlists from my desktop.

Do this on mobile and it’s going to get very interesting.

At what point does iTunes do similar to Spotify? £9 per month, or similar.

We’ve almost been here before of course. Napster should have nailed it, years ago. They had the opportunity to offer us all £10/month unlimited music on your desktop/mobile/whatever. Sideloaded or over-the-air.

What now for Omnifone though? With Spotify looking like it’s about to eat their lunch?

We shall see…

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

16 replies on “Spotify vs iTunes vs Omnifone”

for the last few years the pieces have begun to fall into place for the world to shift away from consumers buying and owning entertainment media to a rental model whether through subscription/one-off or ad-supported

The many opponents to this view had a range of argumentation including claiming that people liked to own their media collections and show off their walls of vhs/dvd/cd/books to visiting guests. With the shift to digital in full swing it is becoming clearer that there are real consumer advantages to the rental model. Spotify is a great implementation of a music rental service. Napster has provided a similar service for years. Having access to the PLANETS music for £10 a month or a few adverts an hour is an amazing offer that is only now starting to get the recognition it deserves. It also has the added bonus of no problems about drm/piracy – if you can access all the music anytime anywhere why bother file sharing it. Whether spotify can actually make the economics work is still to be proven and they may need a dramatic increase in ad minutage. Apple is surely going to add subscription/ad funded model at some point in the near future (It recently improved the payment options on its appstore)

I am amazed at your views about Music Station. I tried it when it first came out on Voda and was really disappointed – terrible user interface/customer experience. Maybe it has improved since then??

I really, really enjoyed MusicStation, Mark. I tried it out on a classic Sony Ericsson handset — I forget the actual model — but it was running on Vodafone. It was a rubbish, rubbish Sony. The kind that is super slim and does nothing but make telephone calls and send text messages. Everything else — especially the bollocks Sony music software was hugely painful to even consider using. You could put MP3s on it.. but the handset didn't handle them very well.

So when I tried out the MusicStation service on that handset, I was really impressed. I could easily search, download and play a good range of music over the air. It was something I could really see consumers actually *using* and getting value from.

That said, it was a good year ago since I last tried it — and the market has been changing fast. I'd like to see something like Spotify working on a bog standard Sony or LG.

But of course iTunes offers much much more than just a means of buying the latest 'Girls Aloud' and 'Sugar Babes' tracks that I know you love so much Ewan. I forcast that you will still be using your iTunes for many months to come.

I use mine to drop big lumps of new media (such as the Mobile Industry Review video podcasts – I will miss them) each evening – as well as managing big globs of third party material that transits to and from my iPhon/iPods.

Having said that – I really do like the simple, clean and easy to understand interface – I was amazed to find my 9 year old son using Spotify to sampe 20 different versions of 'Smoke on the Water' n order that he can play along with his guitar! He is a convert to Spotify – and so am I!

for the last few years the pieces have begun to fall into place for the world to shift away from consumers buying and owning entertainment media to a rental model whether through subscription/one-off or ad-supported

The many opponents to this view had a range of argumentation including claiming that people liked to own their media collections and show off their walls of vhs/dvd/cd/books to visiting guests. With the shift to digital in full swing it is becoming clearer that there are real consumer advantages to the rental model. Spotify is a great implementation of a music rental service. Napster has provided a similar service for years. Having access to the PLANETS music for £10 a month or a few adverts an hour is an amazing offer that is only now starting to get the recognition it deserves. It also has the added bonus of no problems about drm/piracy – if you can access all the music anytime anywhere why bother file sharing it. Whether spotify can actually make the economics work is still to be proven and they may need a dramatic increase in ad minutage. Apple is surely going to add subscription/ad funded model at some point in the near future (It recently improved the payment options on its appstore)

I am amazed at your views about Music Station. I tried it when it first came out on Voda and was really disappointed – terrible user interface/customer experience. Maybe it has improved since then??

I really, really enjoyed MusicStation, Mark. I tried it out on a classic Sony Ericsson handset — I forget the actual model — but it was running on Vodafone. It was a rubbish, rubbish Sony. The kind that is super slim and does nothing but make telephone calls and send text messages. Everything else — especially the bollocks Sony music software was hugely painful to even consider using. You could put MP3s on it.. but the handset didn't handle them very well.

So when I tried out the MusicStation service on that handset, I was really impressed. I could easily search, download and play a good range of music over the air. It was something I could really see consumers actually *using* and getting value from.

That said, it was a good year ago since I last tried it — and the market has been changing fast. I'd like to see something like Spotify working on a bog standard Sony or LG.

But of course iTunes offers much much more than just a means of buying the latest 'Girls Aloud' and 'Sugar Babes' tracks that I know you love so much Ewan. I forcast that you will still be using your iTunes for many months to come.

I use mine to drop big lumps of new media (such as the Mobile Industry Review video podcasts – I will miss them) each evening – as well as managing big globs of third party material that transits to and from my iPhon/iPods.

Having said that – I really do like the simple, clean and easy to understand interface – I was amazed to find my 9 year old son using Spotify to sampe 20 different versions of 'Smoke on the Water' n order that he can play along with his guitar! He is a convert to Spotify – and so am I!

But it has the same problem as Napster had; control. Albums disappear, and so does your ability to hear them. And you need an active connection. I’ve been using it as a review process. But it is a great facility, I would have been in love with this when I was a teenager.

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