Apple was apparently threatened by Spotify's U.S. entry
Most of the really interesting stuff from the D10 relating to Apple has come from the Tim Cook interview, but another interesting tidbit came from an interview with Spotify's Sean Parker and Daniel Ek. When asked if Apple had tried to stop Spotify from entering the U.S. market, Parker hesitantly answered:
There was some indication that that might have been happening. It's actually a very small industry in a lot of ways. It's certainly much smaller than it was 10, 12 years ago. It's a handful of guys who are really running this industry, and they tend to talk amongst each other about all this stuff. One of our core competencies (which is weird as a technology company) is our licensing and legal and negotiation framework. ... In that process you hear things - people send you e-mails. There is definitely a sense in which Apple was threatened by what we were doing, but realistically, what we're doing is still such a small part of their overall business. Even if their music store component of iTunes went away, it wouldn't be hugely significant to their bottom line.
Jobs had previously downplayed the value of subscription-based music services like Spotify, but it's hard to argue that there wouldn't be at least a little bit of overlap between markets of people who want to buy music a la carte, and those who want the all-you-can-hear buffet. Of course, Apple still gets a cut of subscriptions made through the App Store, and has been for Spotify ever since it hit iOS in 2009. More recently, Spotify launched a really nice iPad app.
It's hard to imagine Apple being remotely threatened by subscription services when those services rely on iOS devices to actually gain any traction. Spotify subscribers, do you still buy tracks on iTunes? iTunes shoppers, have you ever been tempted to sign up for Spotify or any other subscription-based music service?
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