Spotify extends playing offline to desktop – Are you getting this Apple?

BREAKING: Well, look out iTunes. We’ve said previously that Spotify didn’t look like it was going to compete with the Apple iTunes Store. It’s streaming, freemium music service after all, not a download store.

It also recently launched an iPhone app that only subscribers can use.

But perhaps the hint of their strategy lay in the fact that on that app you could save playlists and tracks for offline playing (if, say, you were on a plane), though you can not access any kind of MP3 file for sharing of course.

All that changes today because later today Spotify will extend the ‘Offline mode’ that is available on Spotify Mobile and bringing it to the desktop version of Spotify.

Spotify Premium subscribers (£9.99-a-month or £120 annual subscription in the UK) will be able to select their playlists and set them to be ‘Available offline’. Those playlists will then be synced to your computer so it will be possible to listen to your playlists with no internet connection. Handy for the garden shed or the local park perhaps.

In addition to offline mode, Spotify has also added Paypal to the list of available payment methods this week for users in the UK. Spotify does not sell MP3s (you can download them via 7Digital, iTunes Store and Amazon MP3).

This move must surely now have completely new implications with its relationship to Apple iTunes. We’re not saying that Spotify is poised to kill off iTunes – far from it. iTunes is deeply ingrained in the mainstream consumer mind and Spotify is some wet behind the ears startup that, although popular, has done no mainstream marketing to date. In addition, users will be limited to how much music they can download to offline mode.

But this ability to play offline must surely change things. Streaming music services have not had much impact on Apple, if at all. Being able to play offline is a different ball-game altogether. Why buy and download masses of songs when you can shift your listening patterns to your tastes without bill shock, especially for that offline holiday.

The service is targetting a Q4 US launch.