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Spotify takes fight to iTunes with iPod app

Swedish music service Spotify has launched an iPod app, as the firm seeks compete for music sales with Apple's iTunes and expand user options after imposing restrictions on its free streaming service last month.

Spotify takes fight to iTunes with iPod app

The new option means that customers will be able to import the mp3 playlists that they have created in Spotify and play them in the Apple media player iPod.

“Our users don’t want to have to switch between music players, but they do want to take their playlists with them wherever they go, on a wider range of devices, more simply and at a price they can afford,” said CEO Daniel EK in a statement.

“Now we’ve made that possible on one of the world’s most popular consumer devices,” he added.

Non-paying users will also be given access to the popular iPhone app.

Spotify is also moving into music sales, turning up the heat on iTunes with a new payment scheme enabling customers to buy songs in groups of 10, 15, 40 or 100.

Ten songs will be 99 kronor ($16.36) whereas the price decreases to 6 kronor per song if the customer purchases 100 songs. However, all songs within a ‘package’ will have to be bought within a month for these prices to apply.

“It has been possible to purchase songs through Spotify before but we honestly think that this hasn’t been a good experience. A very limited part of the catalogue has been available and it’s been fairly complicated,” Chief Product Officer Gustaf Söderström said.

The idea behind the scheme is that customers should pay the same price for a compilation package of their favourite songs as they would when purchasing an album.

However, it is only the local files or mp3 play lists that will can be synced to the Ipod. The Spotify catalogue can only be streamed on the iPod Touch, iPhone or an Android device with a Premium subscription.

Launched in 2008, Spotify is one of the world’s largest streaming services with a reported seven million free service users and about a million paying users.

Since the launch the service has allowed users to stream music to their computers for free in exchange for listening to advertising.

Users can also pay 49 or 99 kronor (‘Unlimited’ or ‘Premium’ subscriptions) to gain ad-free access to the service where the more expensive option allows users to listen to their playlists offline and to access their music through their mobile phones.

In April Spotify announced they were bringing out new limitations to their free service.

From May 1st, users are limited to ten hours of free listening per month after the six-month introductory period, and will only be able to play any individual track a total of five times.

According to TT news agency, Spotify’s free service has been a stumbling block in the protracted negotiations involved with bringing Spotify to the US market.

The changes are likely to help ease discussions, thus paving the way for Spotify to establish itself in the United States.

Competition is getting fierce with new actors on the market, amongst others the Norwegian Wimp and several other music-streaming companies in the UK.

This summer yet another service called Beyond Oblivion is supposed to be launched in the US.

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MUSIC

What are the best concerts in Sweden this autumn?

Now that Sweden has lifted its audience restrictions for public events, The Local's Paul O'Mahony lists his recommendations for the best gigs to attend over the coming months.

Crowd at a music concert in Debaser, Stockholm
Crowds return to Stockholm venue Debaser after pandemic restrictions on events were lifted. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Sweden’s musicians, concert promoters and venue operators have struggled to varying degrees through the pandemic. One surefire way to help get them back on their feet is to give organisers and artists the financial reassurance they need by pre-booking concerts. 

Of course these recommendations only apply if you feel safe attending large events; remember that you should stay home and take a Covid-19 test if you experience any symptoms that could be linked to the virus, even if vaccinated. And make sure to check with organisers if there are any specific coronavirus requirements you need to be aware of. 

Coming up: top gigs in Sweden over the next few months 

As a regular gig-goer, live music is the one thing I’ve missed most over the past year and a half. So it is with some excitement (and, I’ll admit, a degree of trepidation) that I prepare to go see Norwegian band Pom Poko this Friday at Hus 7 in Stockholm. Their melodic art-punk album Cheater sparked the year into life on its release in January. They’re also playing Plan B in Malmö on Saturday night

Plan B is also the venue when Squid hit Sweden with a thrilling dose of post-punk on October 15th. Tickets remain available for the show at the time of writing (an absolute steal at 120 kronor), though that’s sadly not the case in Stockholm where their October 16th gig at Melodybox sold out a long time ago. (Although you can sign up to be added to a waiting list). 

Another artist well worth checking out in October is Gothenburg guitarist and singer Amanda Werne, better known as Slowgold. Her live shows are great and she is embarking on a Swedish tour on October 8th. 

Emma-Jean Thackray, one of the UK’s most interesting jazz artists, will be at Fasching in Stockholm on October 15th

For the best kind of sonic assault, Anna von Hasswolff’s band Bada are scheduled to play in Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg in late October. 

Have any of you ever seen Gothenburg electronic veterans Little Dragon live? I haven’t but might check them out in November when they swing by Malmö, Stockholm and Gothenburg

Amason are also heading out on the road for a Scandinavian tour in November. If you haven’t heard Amanda Bergman’s voice in a live setting before this will be a treat. 

The inimitable Sibille Attar released her superb second album A History of Silence at the start of the year and she’s finally getting the chance to play her eighties-inspired gems live at Slaktkyrkan in Stockholm on November 18th

Cassandra Jenkins long lurked in the background as a musician in touring bands for people like Eleanor Friedberger and Purple Mountains. But this year’s album An Overview on Phenomenal Nature has really established her as an artist to be reckoned with in her own right. She’s coming to Södra Teatern in Stockholm on November 26th

Always popular in this part of the world, The Jesus and Mary Chain return to Sweden for dates in Stockholm and Gothenburg at the end of November

Wry Finland-Swedish indie outfit Vasas Flora och Fauna have some of the funniest (Swedish) lyrics and catchiest tunes around. They’ll be in Stockholm and Gothenburg the first weekend of December

UK experimental rockers Black Midi are also playing Stockholm and Gothenburg on December 4th and 5th. So prepare to travel if you want to catch both them and Vasas Flora and Fauna. 

As if that wasn’t enough, Bob Hund’s annual ‘week 48’ show also takes place on December 4th. But that has been sold out for ages so no decisions to make there. It is also worth noting though that Sweden’s hardest working band has also written a musical that’s going to be performed in Helsingborg (October-November) and Gothenburg (November)

Bonus: For a post-Christmas pick-me-up try to get down to Little Simz at Slaktkyrkan on January 14th if you’re in Stockholm. The UK rapper’s new album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is one of this year’s best releases. 

Selected artists playing Sweden in 2022: Henry Rollins, Sarah Klang, Yann Tiersen, Mogwai, Pearl Charles, Wolf Alice, Lloyd Cole, Lord Huron, Future Islands, Josh Rouse + Vetiver, Tricky, Snail Mail, Porridge Radio, Aldous Harding, Shame, The Kooks, The War on Drugs, Echo and the Bunnymen, Kings of Convenience, Fontaines D.C., Alex Cameron, Lucy Dacus, The Divine Comedy, Mdou Moctar, Iggy Pop, Chubby and the Gang, Sparks, Belle & Sebastian, The National, Sharon Van Etten, Teenage Fanclub, Tindersticks, Suede, Viagra Boys, Pavement. 

For bigger arena shows, Ticketmaster covers a lot of the bases. Big-name acts with gigs in the offing include Ed Sheeran, Zara Larsson, Whitesnake and, lest we forget, ABBA

And that’s just a fraction of what’s going on. Tour schedules are busier than ever now that artists are finally getting back on the road. To keep track of what gigs are coming up I can recommend checking in with Luger, FKP Scorpio, and Live Nation. Follow your favourite venues too: sometimes they cut out the middleman and do their own booking and promotion. I also use the Bandsintown app, which comes with the added bonus of receiving messages from your favourite artists which let you pretend to be their friend. 

Enjoy the gigs, and stay safe! 

Paul O’Mahony is editorial product manager at The Local. In his spare time he plays the best new indie and alternative music as host of the Signals show on Nerve Music.

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