Spotify puts the kibosh on its download service

Steven Loeb · January 4, 2013 · Short URL:

Service was only available in a few European markets, never made its way to the U.S.

Apparently, Spotify allowed its users to purchase music. I honestly never knew that, probably because the feature was only available in Europe, and never made its way to the United States. And, now, it seems likely that it never will.

Spotify has decided to kill its music download service, according to Spotify's FAQ on its website in the United Kingdom Today.

"We’re currently not offering new download purchases on Spotify. You can still use downloads you’ve already purchased," the website says. 

If a track is available for download, Spotify says, the user will see the Get Track option when they right click the track.

If a user has a Spotify giftcard, they will still be able to use it to download tracks, as long as the giftcard features “Downloads” as an option, but they will not be able to buy downloads using Spotify Desktop. Users will also still be allowed to re-download tracks that they have already purchased.

Users in NorwayThe Netherlands and France have all gotten the same update on their FAQ pages.

“We recently updated Spotify to further simplify the service and pave the way for new features announced at the end of last year. In-app purchases aren’t part of this update but we’re not ruling out their return. Credits/gift cards already purchased are still redeemable," a Spotify spokesperson told VatorNews.

The news was first reported by Pocket-Lint Friday.

A good move for Spotify

In December, Spotify reached 20 million total active users, over a quarter of which were willing to pay for premium service. The United States alone has one million  paying users.

Even more impressive is the growth the service saw. In July 2012, Spotify reached four million paying subscribers, growing from only four million users total to 15 million users in just ten months.

But, for all of its popularity as a streaming service, it was not going to be able to compete with iTunes in the downloading market. According to numbers released by Apple in September, there were 435 million iTunes accounts with one-click purchase settings, and around 20 billion songs had been downloaded in iTunes to date.

Since there is very little chance that Spotify could have ever reached the top of the downloads market, it is probably a good idea for it to remained focused on remaining on top of the streaming market, especially given how crowded that space is becoming.

In September, Nokia launched a free music streaming service available for customers who own a Lumia handset. Users are encouraged make their own playlists, using the Create feature, which will give them access to millions of songs in Nokia’s MP3 store. When a user chooses an artist or a song, The Echo Nest builds a station around that artist, generating a playlist.

Nokia Music also offers the Gig Finder feature, which customers can use to find concerts and shows based on their location. 

In October, Microsort unveiled Xbox Music, which was launched first on the Xbox console, then onto Windows 8 when it debuted on October 26.

Like Spotify, Xbox Music offers free on demand streaming access to its 30-million catalog of songs in the Xbox Music Store, but users on Xbox Music can also buy single tracks or entire albums.

It was also reported in September that that Apple was in negotiations with music labels to create an Internet radio service, much like Pandora, though it was said at the time that it would take months for Apple to have everything in place to launch such a service.

With all of those companies clamoring to take on Spotify, the company will have enough on its hands without having to worry about a service that was never destined to be a big part of its business anyway.

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