Spotify Winds Down App Directory To Focus On External Ecosystem

Music streaming service Spotify has announced that it’s no longer accepting new app submissions for App Finder, its own app directory for third-party apps that reside and operate within its desktop client. The move essentially means it’s shuttering its Spotify app platform play as we know it. However, existing apps that are API 1.x-compatible will continue to be available in the Spotify desktop app — as it moves focus to its mobile SDK for third-party Spotify integration and plans to extend its current, fairly limited, Web API.

The latter, whilst no details are forthcoming, could mean that Spotify-powered Web apps that reside outside of Spotify will finally be given a level playing field with those previously sanctioned apps that run inside of its desktop client. Could this be a win for a more ‘open’ web in regards to apps that want to integrate Spotify? We’ll have to see how this pans out but the move is certainly interesting.

At one point my understanding is that Spotify was going to integrate third-party Spotify apps into their web player and mobile apps but they cancelled that integration over a year ago due to the complexities involved.

Despite major brands and startups building official Spotify apps, listed in its App Finder — including, musiXmatch, Rolling Stone, Soundrop and Tunewiki, amongst many others — there’s also a question mark over how successful its platform play has been overall. Spotify apps, accessible within the music streaming service’s own client, seemed like a great idea but it’s questionable if enough people were aware of and using them.

One startup I talked to last year admitted that its Spotify app initially gave sign-ups a nice bump but pretty quickly tailed off after the PR around the platform subsided and the app directory got fuller.

But perhaps the real story here isn’t about a failed platform but the shift to mobile, reminiscent of online gaming. Spotify pretty much says as much in its official developer update on the matter, noting that its mobile SDKs continue to be a major focus for the company.

“Partners have been asking us for a cheaper and easier way to own a presence inside Spotify and developers would like more ways to integrate Spotify with their own applications,” writes Spotify. “Pair that with the growing importance of mobile and we realized we needed to adapt.”

And adapt it has.

“Over the coming months we’ll be adding new features for partners in Spotify and expanding the features of our Web API, as well as releasing new mobile SDKs,” the company adds.