updated 08:15 am EDT, Wed May 4, 2011
Spotify adds iPod download sync, free mobile use
Spotify revamped its mobile and music strategies in large fashion on Wednesday, including a rare tie-in with the iPod. The company now has a direct MP3 download service that offers MP3 tracks through playlists and bundles, in some cases as low as 50p (83 cents) per song. The service conspicuously avoids by-the-track song downloads to get the lower rate.
Along with the greater emphasis on downloads, the desktop app now recognizes and will sync with non-iOS iPods. The option gives offline users access both to the playlists they buy from the store as well as any other MP3s stored in Spotify's collection.
Streaming users got their own concession through the update. Both Android and iOS listeners can now use the mobile apps to listen to MP3s for free instead of having to subscribe to Spotify Premium. The app is also unique in syncing MP3 playlists wirelessly, although it's not clear whether this is a direct Wi-Fi connection to the computer or downloads from Spotify's servers.
All of the features should be available immediately through updates pushing out to the desktop and mobile apps.
The move reflects Spotify's increasing attempts to move away from free service by offering incentives to go to its paid services. Labels have often objected to its popular but ad-supported basic service and have made deals for the US and new features contingent on its ability to attract more lucrative paying customers.