- 7 Sep 09, 10:59 GMT
The Spotify application approved for iPhone use by Apple a few weeks ago - to the surprise of some, given the possible threat to iTunes - is up and running in the App Store this morning. What's more, there is also a version of the music-streaming service available for Google's Android mobile software, somewhat earlier than expected.
So the day of reckoning has arrived. Not just for Spotify or for the music industry - but for all those who believe that the future of online content depends on a mix of free and subscription content.
The Spotify app is only available to those who upgrade to the premium service - in other words, you have to be ready to pay £120 a year to get mobile access to unlimited music from its catalogue. While there is plenty of excitement about the new apps, it's by no means certain that this will prove a winner.
One person who will be looking on with particular interest is Rupert Murdoch. He has made it clear that he wants his News Corp titles - such as the Times and the Sun - to start charging for some online content as does his Wall Street Journal. Some are sceptical about his chances of getting online readers to cough up. But you can bet there will be a sophisticated offer, with a lot of free material plus a varied diet of premium extras - including, perhaps, mobile content only available to subscribers. Rather like Spotify.
So if the fast-growing music service fails to convince plenty of customers that it's worth paying quite a hefty price to take your playlists on the bus, then its backers will not be the only ones singing the blues.
Maybe Rupert Murdoch - whose own MySpace music offering has failed to make much of a splash so far - will be signing up to Spotify and sharing some playlists with friends. I'm sure both he and Daniel Ek, Spotify's founder, would join in this classic Motown chorus:
"The best things in life are free
But you can keep 'em for the birds and bees
Now give me money, that's what I want."
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