Spotify’s iPhone app has just gone live on the iTunes app store. But us poor Yankees are SOL. It’s available in Europe only — for now anyway.
The app is available here for free from Apple’s App Store, but requires a premium Spotify account to work at a cost of about £9.99 (about about $16) a month.
Neither the app nor Spotify is available in the U.S., but plans are afoot to bring the highly-rated service across the pond. It is set to come to the U.S. sometime later this year, or maybe next, pending licensing agreements with the record labels, and advertising deals that support the free service.
Because Spotify’s streaming music service is such a threat to iTunes, it was possible that Apple might somehow disable the iPhone app. Apple has disapproved of apps that replicate core iPhone functions, like Google Voice. While there is no indication yet that Apple cripples threatening apps, it doesn’t approve them. Apple perhaps doesn’t see the Spotify iPhone app as a threat while it is restricted to premium customers.
But Spotify’s app doesn’t seem to have any restrictions, except one imposed on all third-party apps — it can’t run in the background.
Spotify’s streaming music service has taken the world by storm with a music library that rivals iTunes — about 6 million tracks — and an interface to match. It’s dead easy to search, build playlists, and find new artists. It’s basically iTunes in the cloud — but free (with the occasional ad).
Spotify’s iPhone app adds a very important feature: it can cache full playlists to be played offline. You can store up to 3,333 songs — that’s 10 days constant listening — and they will play when the network goes dark. The offline caching service allows tracks to be played anywhere offline: on airplanes, in subways or even when traveling overseas to avoid roaming charges.
Official screenshots of the app and a video of it in action after the jump.
Watch the offline song caching feature at about 28 seconds in.