Spotify's New Apps: What the Critics Are Saying
The tech experts are mixed in their reviews of the online music service's Facebook-style applications, unveiled Wednesday.
Spotify on Wednesday announced that it is launching Facebook-style apps that add certain features and functionality to its online music service.
According to the company, developers can now create HTML 5 apps for Spotify. The apps announced included ones for THR's sister publication Billboard, Rolling Stone and Pitchfork as well as Songkick, a concert listings site, and TuneWiki, which that displays lyrics to a song as it's playing.
One app will display lyrics while a song plays, while another will generate a list of upcoming concerts by artists in a user's playlist and provide links that allow users to buy tickets. Stockholm-based Spotify's "app finder" is will include reviews from magazines and blogs that let users listen to albums as they read reviews.
The apps will be free for paying and non-paying users.
During the announcement in New York, CEO Daniel Ek touted the move as "bringing music to where it should have been." Meanwhile, the apps also could help differentiate Spotify amid growing competition from the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon.com.
So what do the tech experts have to say about the announcement?
CNET's Greg Sandoval was less than impressed.
"Maybe because we're so used to the app platforms from iTunes, Android, and Facebook that Spotify's announcement today that it too is building such a platform doesn't inspire much awe," he wrote. "Or maybe it's because the new apps that the company demonstrated today at a press event here don't do much that's new."
He also questioned" how much music fans care about new ways to interact with their music users will even be interested in the apps" as well as what motivation developers have "to build for the service when they won't be allowed to generate revenue from their wares like they can with iPhone or Android apps."
Likewise, Gizmodo's Adrian Covert expected more from the announcement.
"Many of these apps, only being developed in the past couple of weeks were minimal, and reps for each company promised more features in the near future," Covert wrote. "I'd definitely like to see more dynamic generation of lists and recommendations-- or even filters for general Spotify navigation -- based on a certain criteria unique to each sites content."
On the other hand, Wired's Eliot Van Buskirk was more optimistic.
"Ever since Spotify launched users have requested new features -- everything from 'DJ mode' to the ability to buy tickets," he wrote. "This strategy of outsourcing those new features to outside app developers makes a lot of sense from that point of view, because it allows Spotify to add a massive number of optional features that will be invisible to users who just want the vanilla version."
He added: "Talk of [application programming interfaces may seem like the stuff of technology wonkery, geekery or nerddom, but think about it: A kid coding away in a basement all night, anywhere in the world, can build apps within the most popular music subscription service in the world. Want to play your friends’ Facebook preferences? Create a party playlist automatically based on the people attending? Tag songs to locations so that others can stumble across them? ... With Spotify’s revamped API, and the ability to include the apps within Spotify itself, the sky is the limit."
TechCrunch's Josh Constine was similarly hopeful, writing that Spotify's "new integrations ... unlock the potential of its massive music catalogue."
"The apps could inspire longer listening sessions that expose users to more ads, get them more attached to their paid accounts, and share more links that drive referral traffic from Facebook," he added.