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back to article Spotify's new desktop client cuts off iTunes

The latest client from music streaming service Spotify will talk directly to an iPod, removing the need for iTunes to vet everything copied onto every Apple music player. The new desktop client will synchronise playlists, and offline content for paying customers, with Android and iOS devices. That's particularly important for …

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Most welcome development

It will be a most welcome development if Spotify can bring its speed, simplicity and 'just works' approach to managing material on an iPod rather than being forced to use bloated iTunes ( which always leaves me wondering "what is happening now?" )

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Silver badge

It has become rather diffuse, hasn't it?

At least on Windows, it didn't perform very well even back when it just managed music but now that it also does movies, apps, photos, podcasts, etc, etc, etc, it really does feel a lot worse. I'm always optimistic that the problem is just the app's heritage (it was an OS 9 app originally) and that the encouraging signs Apple have made by rewriting QuickTime and fixing the Windows port of Safari (for performance and system integration; forget what it does versus your favourite browser) mean that the iTunes problem could be fixed, possibly even in the not-too-distant future. But there's no reason to believe it'll actually happen.

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Stop

What about Photos, Videos, Apps, Contacts etc...

It isn't going to be able to sync my photos, videos, apps and contacts too. Music is just one small part of an ipod. I agree that itunes could be a lot better than it is but this isn't yet a real alternative.

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Anonymous Coward

title

Wait, they "pulled" the app? As in, it somehow got through their screening process and managed to hit the market in the first place?

I thought the whole reasoning behind their gatekeepered methodology was to stop exactly this kinda thing from reaching the itunes store?

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Jobs Halo

The Jobs Giveth...

and The Jobs taketh away. Is, was, and ever will be.

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Anonymous Coward

title

And the app I was referring to was the "less than legal" one... I can only assume the downvoters thought I meant Spotify.

It's a serious question tho, if they personally approve apps for release to the store how do the dodgy ones even get through? I can understand ones with very sneaky modules (tho, I'd like to think their testing rigs record all the packets sent by the app and review them for dodgyness) or changes in law affecting the legality, but when it's blatantly obvious there's just no excuse.

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Streaming

Read on other tech sites that non-premium account holders can now stream (with ads) to the mobile apps too. Is this true? I would check Spotify's actual website, but work have decided it's far too inappropriate for having a look at on my lunch break.

I subscribe to Spotify but streaming to the free app might give more people with a "try before you buy" attitude a chance to actually try the only bit of the service I actually use on a regular basis!

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If Only

Looks like you still have to pay to enjoy the full Spotify service on your mobile device - the new desktop client just lets you stream MP3 playlists THAT YOU HAVE PURCHASED to your device, not listen to the full Spotify library.

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Spotify mobile

Right now the website still states that you need a premium account to access spotify mobile.

I personally prefer we7 as it is browser based, I can access it at work and it's much easier to find new music because i can view albums by genre sorted by release date. There is still some music that is only on spotify so an ad supported mobile version would be useful, however disappointingly I've noticed lots of music disappearing from spotify of late.

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Jobs Horns

Don't make money on software?

I for one am getting bored of this refrain.

Apple don't make money on itunes downloads? the iOS app store?

I call bollocks. 30% is a fabulous margin, significantly more than many retail shops out in the real world.

If they can make money with margins that small, how come apple can't?

Now I realise this doesn't take into account the costs of running the data centre. but seriously, how much is that supposed to be?

My guesstimate (from the itunes website : apple sold around 4 billion tracks in 2009-2010, $0.99 per track, 30% take = $0.33 per track) is that apple grossed $110 million per month in 09/10, or >$1.3 billion in the year. I cannot see that this can't be making them a profit, and a big one. And its only accelerated since then.

So, anyone care to prove me wrong? Or can I simply say "Bollocks", whenever someone tries to convince me that apple only make money on hardware.

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Anonymous Coward

Name them

Please name the "many retail shops" that make less than a 30% margin on music, or just shut up next time and don't be the one doing the bollocking.

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FAIL

Ah, deflection

An interesting tactic, Mr Anonymous, deflect my question instead of answering it.

And well, I never mentioned retail music stores, that was your invention. I was referring to retail in general.

Anyone else?

Lets look at it another way. taking a 30% cut of the sale price is equivalent to applying a 50% markup on the wholesale price. This makes it easier to compare this 50% markup to the average for any other retail sector. 9look up average retail markup for an industry of your choosing. grocery is amusing, being around 10%)

It compares very well, with the added advantage that Apples costs are lower, as they don't have to maintain a much of the supply chain, stores etc.

Now, they have a supply chain, stores and all the rest, but they will be funded and costed out of the hardware portion of the business.

So, in summary, I still don't believe it.

Bollocks.

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Anonymous Coward

There is no "retail in general"

Even Tesco or Amazon apply different margins to different types of products.

iTunes sells more music than any other products so I think it's fair to compare it to other music stores, online or not. But if you're picky then go look at margins in software or video retail as well.

Until you can buy a pint of milk - or a new monitor - on iTunes those are the only kind of stores you can compare with.

As a side note you're also badly deluded re grocery margins being only 10%, just look up margins in milk retail for example.

Also I'd love your explanation on how the 30% cut transforms into a 50% markup on wholesale price. Maybe you work for Inland Revenue by any chance? That could explain their latest problems with wrong rates.

Seems to me you're the one doing the deflection: of reality.

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Happy

Yes there is.

Yes Mr Anon, if that is your real name, I was talking about the _average_ markup.

If you look at top end choccies, for example, you'll see a massive markup (in the 100s of percent). The average, across the board and inlcuding the very low margin stuff, is really much lower. Apples policy (as I understand it) is to take a 30% of everything, so, this forms the basis of their average.

Again, my point is that Apple must be making a serious profit by taking that kind of cut. The product is truly irrelevant. All that matters is that they buy at ~$0.63 and sell at $0.99. It could be mars bars for all that it matters, only the numbers are important.

So, you ask, cut to markup? A markup is what you add on to the wholesale/ purchase price to get your retail price. A cut is the percent of the whole. They aren't the same thing.

So, since they take a 30% cut, as above, this means that they would buy from the record label at ~$0.63 and sell at $0.99 This is a ~50% increase. Hence a ~50% markup.

Can you prove me wrong yet? I'm still looking for some proof that Apple is not making large profits on their music/ app business. None has presented yet, unless they spend >$100 million a month on datacentre, advertising and staff costs. Even then, I'll be honest, this is all rather amusing.

And no, I don't work for the revenue, I can count, thats all.

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Anonymous Coward

I see what you did there

Suddenly you added a ~ in front of the 50% because it's not really a 50% markup is it? You got your own numbers wrong. So I'm sorry to say maybe you can't count after all?

Maybe you're using the same formula to average your groceries prices. Can you show me that the average markup across the board of something like Walmart or Tesco is not in fact > 10%? I'd be very surprised given that even basic milk attracts a > 30% markup at least in the UK.

It's also clear you're not in fact from the Revenue, if you were you'd know to go straight to Apple's annual report to answer your question.

But anyway the real question is not what profit they make on iTunes - this will always be at least a whole order of magnitude smaller than profits on their other products. The question should be why no other significant market agent seems to be able to compete with this rate.

I'm sure Amazon could make up for sales in volume and surely the artists/publishers/etc would be pleased to move to the lower one, but in the end it was Apple 30% cut that forced Amazon's hand into lowering cuts from an original astronomical 70% (which still applies is some cases and many countries)

Maybe buying music or digital products isn't the same as a pint of milk after all..

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Go

Me too

Suddenly you added a ~ in front of the 50% because it's not really a 50% markup is it? You got your own numbers wrong. So I'm sorry to say maybe you can't count after all?

--

Yes it is, 63c to 99c is a 50% markup as near as dammit; and I don't mean to be petty, but I asked for proof first :-P

Good idea on the filing check, we might just get somewhere like this!

They don't specifically break out the figures for itunes (maybe I didn't get to that part) except to say that "Net Sales" were $1.6 billion over a quarter for "other music related products and services", which includes accessories as well as itunes music, apparently. Not too shabby. (page 26 of the apple 10k filing)

So, back to my original, primary, and only important point, Apple makes a profit on itunes, a BIG one!

And I'll thank you not to tell me what questions to ask. I want to know why everyone keeps on repeating the mantra of "Apple doesn't make money on itunes" when they plainly do.

So Mr Anon, I thank you for a stimulating, if slightly aggressive, discussion, next time can we swap? I'll be anon! The fun :-D

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Hardly replaces iTunes for an iOS device

While the Spotify tool may replace iTunes for older 'dumb' iPods, it can hardly do so for iOS devices. You still need iTunes to manage software updates, apps, photos, video, books and files (the ones you don't have via DropBox!). Music is just one small part of the relationship between iTunes and iOS kit.

So, rather than simplifying things, you have yet another application to use.

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That's becasue it isn't a replacement.

It's a replacement for having to buy every song you want to listen to from iTunes. In other words: it stops you having to pay twice for all your music or do without the convenience of Spotify.

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Huh?

I don't understand - why does using iTunes limit you to only buying music from the iTunes store? I've got a couple of thousand tracks in iTunes but only about 10 are iTunes purchases

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@NightFox

I was paraphrasing for brevity.

It means that you don't have to pay for Spotiy and then buy another copy -- which I take it you would probably do in iTunes in this day and age, especially if you owned an Apple product and wanted the music quickly.

Christ on a bike -- Apple users aren't half tetchy. My comment wasn't anti-Apple it was pro-Spotify, pro-choice and anti-having-to-buy-something-you-already-paid-to-use-from-a-paid-for-lease-service.

In fact, in allowing this Apple went up a little in my estimation, which I freely admit is still low.

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Jobs Horns

Enjoy the app whilst it lasts?

Judge Jobs - I AM LAW!

This app seems to be impeding on our itunes profits...

(re-writes developers terms and conditions)

Sorry spotify you are no longer allowed to be put your app on anything apple!

Judge Jobs - I AM LAW!

Judge Dread icon please !

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Anonymous Coward

DESKTOP client

What part of DESKTOP client did you miss? It's not a app.

Can't you see how such basic mistakes makes all the haters look bad?

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FAIL

Hype

So, really, the only tangible benefit this enormously over-hyped update gives is to allow non-premium users to wirelessly sync their own MP3s to their iPod instead of having to use iTunes and a cable. You still have to do it on your own LAN, only now at likely half the speed that was achievable over USB as I strongly suspect their desktop application can't sync using Apple's proprietary interface.

If you're a heavy Spotify user the chances are you're already premium and using the mobile app. If you're not, there's little incentive to import all of your music into Spotify as you'll still have to use iTunes to sync apps / photos / calendars regardless.

Not only that, you still have the adverts / limits only now you're using the Spotify app more often as a media player for your own music and conveniently turning your internet connection into a distribution node for Spotify's P2P network. They benefit from your bandwidth, you have no more access to their music library than you did before.

And if wireless syncing is that important to you, why not just install Subsonic server instead of Spotify. Install the iSub iOS app and you can synch / cache your music wirelessly, locally and over the internet as well as getting full 3G streaming on the go.

Bullshit.

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Stop

No mention of Spotify free shutting up shop

I looked in vain for El Reg's take on Spotify's move away from the free subs model (as of 1st May, I can only listen to a track 5 times ever, and only 10 hours' listening per month) and what it means for legit online distribution. This seems as good a forum as any (apart from actually emailing, which seems like too much effort...) to ask what Andrew O et al make of it...

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Something's missing...

"Apple is unlikely to be so aggressive with Spotify, especially when Spotify's owners include, whom even Apple can't afford to annoy too much."

Who are Spotify's owners?

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