Why Spotify Needs an iPhone App to Get to Market

Spotify’s much anticipated iPhone app has been submitted to Apple for approval and certainly looks the part…in fact it almost looks too much the part.  This level of integration into the iPhone music playback experience may well be deemed by Apple to be too competitive to the core iPhone functionality. There is precedent, the Podcaster app was rejected, reportedly because it was too similar to iTunes functionality (it since developed a scaled back RSS Reader iPhone app).  The Spotify app certainly seems to mimic core iPhone music playback functionality (e.g. utilizing standard iPhone / iPod Touch playback controls) and would therefore be likely to compete with iPhone iTunes music playback. 


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Sicilian Musings

I'm currently on holiday in Taormina in Sicily for a couple of weeks and though I come here every year (my wife is Sicilian) I never cease to be amazed by just how different the profile of technology adoption is here compared to northern Europe. Just trying to get online over the last couple of weeks has been a case in point.


 I had a few pressing work tasks which I needed to do during my stay so I ensured I was well stocked up with credit on my USB modem.  Unfortunately the Italian network of my UK mobile operator didn’t seem to have read the script about discounted international data roaming fees and I managed to burn through 35 pounds of credit in 2 and a half days (which included 3 extended ‘help’ line calls – I use the term ‘help’ in the loosest possible sense - and getting a relative to buy more credit in the UK).  The fact that the download speed made a 56k modem look like Fiber just added to the pain.  Unlike my friends and family in northern Italy, the majority in Sicily don’t have home Internet connections so I have to resort to Internet cafés, the majority of which share one sub standard connection between a couple of dozen computers.  However this year I needed to connect my laptop directly and my normal Internet café of choice wouldn’t let me plug in my laptop directly.  Finally, I found one with Wi-Fi (just arrived this year) and got online.

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The media meltdown - why we are all media companies now

Analysts as a breed have a tendency to create new buzz words and phrases, neologisms that capture emerging trends and themes. But what we are now calling the media meltdown — where traditional media business models based on scarcity and control are fundamentally challenged by the new realities of digital media consumption — is not some abstract economist notion.

For many of our clients, including media companies that create and distribute content to users, the media meltdown is already a painful reality. Users want more and more content for free, while advertisers are struggling to engage fragmented audiences.  The old business models aren’t working, and the new ones aren’t yet in place.

 But while the media meltdown equates to pain for many companies, it is also creating opportunities for non-media companies — including telcos, hardware manufacturers, and FMCG brands — to increasingly use content directly to engage users. In other words, we are all media companies now — and, as such, have to embrace new ways of thinking.

 You can expect to hear more about the media meltdown from me and my fellow Forrester analysts in the next couple of months. We believe this is a seismic shift that has huge implications for marketers, advertisers, content managers and product strategists across a whole range of companies. We also believe we can help our clients negotiate this challenging period.

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Portable Audio 30 Years After the Walkman

This summer saw decade anniversaries of two of the most important events in the modern music business: June was the 10 year anniversary of Napster and yesterday (July 1st) was the 30 year anniversary of Sony’s Walkman (though for the pedants out there this is the anniversary of it coming to market, the product was actually first built in 1978).

Both, in their respective ways, fundamentally changed the shape and direction of the recorded music business but both are also transitory technologies.  My colleague Moira Dorsey recently presented a concept at the Forrester Consumer Experience Forum on how new technology imitates old technology when it first arrives on the scene.  She used the example of the history of the car to illustrate the point: emerging first as a steam powered horseless carriage in the late 18th century, taking its first major step forward with the Benz 4 stroke engine car in the late 19th century, finding something close to its true form in the 1920’s and eventually ending up with the likes of the S Class Mercedes Benz now.

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