Spotify extends playing offline to desktop – Are you getting this Apple?

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BREAKING: Well, look out iTunes. We’ve said previously that Spotify didn’t look like it was going to compete with the Apple iTunes Store. It’s streaming, freemium music service after all, not a download store.

It also recently launched an iPhone app that only subscribers can use.

But perhaps the hint of their strategy lay in the fact that on that app you could save playlists and tracks for offline playing (if, say, you were on a plane), though you can not access any kind of MP3 file for sharing of course.

All that changes today because later today Spotify will extend the ‘Offline mode’ that is available on Spotify Mobile and bringing it to the desktop version of Spotify.

Spotify Premium subscribers (£9.99-a-month or £120 annual subscription in the UK) will be able to select their playlists and set them to be ‘Available offline’. Those playlists will then be synced to your computer so it will be possible to listen to your playlists with no internet connection. Handy for the garden shed or the local park perhaps.

In addition to offline mode, Spotify has also added Paypal to the list of available payment methods this week for users in the UK. Spotify does not sell MP3s (you can download them via 7Digital, iTunes Store and Amazon MP3).

This move must surely now have completely new implications with its relationship to Apple iTunes. We’re not saying that Spotify is poised to kill off iTunes – far from it. iTunes is deeply ingrained in the mainstream consumer mind and Spotify is some wet behind the ears startup that, although popular, has done no mainstream marketing to date. In addition, users will be limited to how much music they can download to offline mode.

But this ability to play offline must surely change things. Streaming music services have not had much impact on Apple, if at all. Being able to play offline is a different ball-game altogether. Why buy and download masses of songs when you can shift your listening patterns to your tastes without bill shock, especially for that offline holiday.

The service is targetting a Q4 US launch.

  • Alex Drewniak

    I think they’ve just caught Cupertinos attention with this. Pretty major indeed.

    I didn’t think I was going to say this at such an early stage, but thanks to Spotify, physical MP3s are slowly but surely feeling old and redundant. At least that’s where were headed.

    • blah

      Haha you said Physical Mp3s

    • Alyssa Myers

      Physical mp3s? I know what you mean though. Not having to keep a library maintained is definitely attractive. I just wish Spotify was available in the States.

  • Jules Morgan

    Hold on, a monthly subscription service to access music isn’t even close to being a new idea. And that’s effectively what this is.

    I’m going to start asking people why they think Spotify is cool because I don’t think half of them know any more. It USED to be because you could stream loads of music very fast to your desktop for free. As opposed to renting downloaded music for a monthly fee. Which, as I say, isn’t even close to being a new concept.

    • Ryan Townsend

      Yeah, so how exactly is this different to Napster?

    • Name Here

      It is still free for the 98% of its users who don’t bother going premium. They get the same music. Just some ads and fewer features.

    • Sami

      As is often the case, in Spotify it’s the execution, not the idea that matters. In Spotify you can listen to (practically) any music you want instantly.

  • Andrew Chalkley

    Is there a difference between fremium and freemium?

  • Josh Lam

    Not working for me. Where can I choose to make a song for offline listening?

    • Josh Lam

      And I have the latest version of Spotify with the “Online/Offline” icon on the bottom right.

      • Hugo Firth

        @Josh Lam: Are you a spotify premium subscriber? I think this is only available to that sector of the market.

      • Name Here

        They’ve pushed out the update, but I don’t think they’ve “flipped the switch”, so to speak.

        I can’t see it either, as premium member. As Mike’s post says, ‘later today’.

      • Name Here

        I think they just flipped the switch. A blog post is live, the feature’s now working for me.

  • jason

    “Handy for the garden shed or the local park perhaps.”

    My garden shed and local park are fully equipped with 3G coverage.

  • Some guy

    Now if they let you use the offline mode during a daily 99p (i.e. non-premium) session it would be awesome, as you could temporarily expand your library for parties sans internet.

  • Joe Dawson

    Nice, I’m seriously considering subscribing to the premium package. I’m using the freemium version at the moment so not been able to use the iPhone app yet. Hopefully they will update the app to incorporate scrobbling next!

  • Mode offline sur Spotify Desktop: c’est officiel « I still believe in music, do you ?

    […] Source : Techcrunch […]

  • @clashcity

    How much can be cached?

    • Name Here

      You can store up to 3,333 songs on your computer.

      • Jim

        why not 3,334?

  • Andrew

    Now if only they could release a feature such as iTunes’ Genius. I’m sick of the terrible “radio” feature and having to manually trawl for music when it would so simple to automatically expose me to their vast catalogue via a clever algorithm.

  • Jim Kerr

    As noted above, none of this is new except for the free ad-supported model. All of the features people are excited about are already available in Rhapsody.

    If premium is driving their business model, then they need to do a lot more than just copy features Rhapsody has had for years.

    • Jim Kerr

      In the United States, that is. I don’t know the paid subscription models available in Europe.

  • Santi

    This is going to be fantastic!

  • Santi

    Would be cool to get some apps for the Nokia phones aswell… Kinda lame with the apps available in Ovi atm.

  • Maple

    It’s all about marketing!

    Basically this is a subscription music service. You cancel your subscription, you loose your music (I know you will still be able to use the free version), but for most people you loose your ability to play music ANYWHERE! No threat to iTunes.

  • dude

    They’re writing the near future: a complete library of ALL the music, a fantastic dream, month ago, may become a reality.

    Same as the books library, you don’t pay for owning a book but for acceding to the ENTIRE collection of them.

    Freedom is not owning, is getting access, I think.
    Minds will slowly change. And culture be opened widely.

  • Shane

    There is no way that this is an iTunes killer. iTunes has a dramatically larger userbase, as well as 1-2-3 syncing with the most popular MP3 player by far. Spotify has a lot of hype to live up to…

  • Spotify Adds Offline Music Caching to Its Desktop Player, Makes iTunes Look Prudish [Software] | Gizmo Nerd

    […] The feature, which lets users designate any or all of their content to be available offline, is only available to the £9.99/month or £120/year premium subscribers, but effectively hands them unlimited music, available at all times, for a flat fee. The mobile app is still the showstopper here—we’ve seen a few all-you-can-eat DRM music services before—but, you know, still, insult to injury. Our only consolation? Spotify thinks they can launch in the US before the end of the year, though I’ll be eager to see if they can get as cozy a licensing deal as they found in the UK. [Techcrunch] […]

  • Harri


    Since I got the Spotify app for my mobile, that includes offline playlists, I’ve not listened to a “physical” MP3 since.

    The only thing Spotify loses on w/ regards to iTunes is the range of artists. No Beatles, etc.

  • Mark

    Are there any ways for us Canada/US users to sign up for Spotify these days?

  • Spotify Adds Offline Music Caching To Its Desktop Player | Gizmodo Australia

    […] I’ll be eager to see if they can get as cozy a licensing deal as they found in the UK. [Techcrunch] […]

  • Daniel Raffel

    Spotify continues to kill it. Can’t wait to checkout this new feature. It’s so great to see someone still innovating in the music space.

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  • Marco


    Even when you sign up using a proxy, they started checking the IP when you now access Spotify.

    Can’t use it since 2 weeks. I immediately get an error message:

    >>Your current location is different from that you
    >> set in your profile, if you’ve moved please
    >> update your profile. You can travel for 14 days
    >> or upgrade to premium for unlimited travel.


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