|Following quickly on the news of Grooveshark creating a stand-alone app that works in the browser, Spotify looks to be creating and close to launching a new Spotify app for the browser, when you go to www.spotify.com. TechCrunch posted news over the weekend, saying that they're "preparing to launch a completely overhauled browser-based version of its streaming music service."
This is a good idea. We've seen this not only with Grooveshark but a number of web sites and streaming services that decided to do an end run around the app store rules of Google Play and the iTunes App Store. It's their walled garden, so it's their walled garden rules. I first wrote about this last year with the emergence of HTML5 apps, which allow any content creator or service provider to own their own existence instead of paying middle men to live by the middle man's rules. Grooveshark ran into Google Play, while Google Music and Google Play skipped the iTunes App Store and created a browser-based version for devices like the iPhone and iPad.
So if Spotify cranks up a Spotify app that is different than their desktop app, it should work out well for them. It allows the dev team to focus on improving one app instead of multiple things like an Android app, an iOS app for the Apple heads, plus all the other platforms. I'm not trying forecast the death of the stand-alone app here, just the decline of the app as we've known it. Apps have been great in forcing us to rethink how we experience them, and thus have reshaped our view of a web site that moves beyond point and click pages of information about a company and into a media channel news resource.
The other elephant in the room -- no matter how much the whole damn industry has been sensationalizing the mobile experience as "the next big thing," is that mobile advertising has completely underperformed everyone's expectations, leaving a lot of time and money and work being thrown at something that's yielding few results. If Spotify focuses on one app, they could be spending more time and money on making that one app great instead of maintaining and updating apps for all of the platforms out there. Whatever ends up happening, the whole mobile app thing needs to improve for everyone that's building them.
Spotify might even revisit the mobile app subscription price, according to TechCrunch. Digital Music News also said last week that Spotify has now dropped the Facebook requirement for new users. The price thing is unconfirmed, but if the non-Facebook sign is happening, it comes roughly a year after the Spotify Facebook nexus was announced, so maybe they were under obligation to do it for a year, and now Spotify could be moving forward towards a more global expansion plan like Netflix has been doing. The two streaming services have a lot of similarities, with one focusing on movies while the other does streaming music.
"If we can get to the scale of Netflix – which has 20 million subscribers – we estimate we’d be paying out to artists what iTunes is paying out on a year to year basis. This is a simple calculation based on the average download consumer spending $60 a year with iTunes, and the average premium subscriber paying $120 a year with Spotify," said Spotify's D.A. Wallach in a recent interview with Hypebot.