Remember a few years back when all the cool kids in Europe bragged about how they were enjoying this really cool new music service called Spotify, and you couldn’t even try it because Spotify wasn’t available in the USA? It took forever for Spotify to launch their awesome product in the U.S. Rumors floated that the hangup was caused by legal issues with the licensing of the music, but in an interview today at AllThingsD’s D10 conference, Sean Parker claimed Apple was trying to keep the music service from launching Stateside.
“There was some indication that that might have been happening…You hear things, people send you emails. There was a sense in which Apple was threatened by what we were doing.”
Apple’s iTunes platform has dominated the music industry for the last several year, yet it lacks the streaming and social elements that make Spotify such a popular service. Noticing a possible competitor in the music space that could potentially take customers away from the iTunes/iPod ecosystem, Apple may have tried to pull strings to prevent Spotify from competiting with iTunes in the U.S. market.
Parker went on to say that, “[Music] is still such a small part of [Apple's] overall business, it wouldn’t be hugely significant to their bottom line. It’s certainly a much smaller industry than it was 12 years ago.” Even though Apple doesn’t make a large chunk of their overall revenue from iTunes, being one of the world’s largest music distributors is hugely beneficial to Apple’s ecosystem. iTunes’ media content gives Apple products a big edge over Samsung, Motorola, and HTC, so we wouldn’t be surprised if there were some truth to Parker’s claims.