Spotify rivals iTunes with download service, device sync

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Now this is interesting. With Apple expected to step onto Spotify's turf with a cloud-based music service of its own, the popular Swedish startup is making a preemptive move and taking the battle to another field as it aims squarely at iTunes. The company is rolling out a new version of its desktop and mobile app for all users, including ad-supported "free" users, which will sync downloaded songs from their computers to iPods, iPhones and Android phones.

Spotify is one-upping Apple by offering desktop-to-mobile synchronization over Wi-Fi, a long requested but still missing feature in iTunes, and tops it off with the introduction of its own music store -- or "download service" -- to run alongside the established streaming option. Users will be able to purchase bundles of tracks at discounted prices depending on the size of the bulk: ten tracks will cost £7.99, 15 tracks £9.99, 40 tracks £25 and 100 tracks £50.

 

 

The move follows a recent decision to cut down the offerings of its free service. The number of free hours was slashed in half from 20 to 10 and a limit on the number of times a track can be played was established.

Currently Spotify is only available in some in some European countries, but the company has made some progress towards launching stateside and is expected to finish negotiations with record labels soon. The latest move gives users a solid alternative to iTunes not only for buying music but also for managing it. The new features will start rolling out to all users from today as part of an automatic update, according to the announcement on the company's blog.

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