No lock-in here – WiMP calls for industry to support playlist import/export

The more time (and money) that you invest in a music streaming service like Spotify, building playlists, adding favourites and so forth, the more locked in to that service you potentially become. But it doesn’t have to be that way, says Scandinavian competitor WiMP (operated by Aspiro), which today introduces import and export of playlists along with a call to the industry to settle on a standard file-format for playlists.

The Beta update to the music streaming service, which operates in Denmark, Norway and, Sweden, adds the ability to import playlists from Spotify to WiMP, and to export WiMP playlists in either RSS or XSPF format.

What’s missing, however, is support for iTunes playlists (and Winamp), something that Aspiro says isn’t possible with the current lack of an industry standard or support for sharing. That’s a little odd since iTunes does support playlist import and export as a text file that could be easily reverse-engineered for support in other apps. Perhaps that’s a line WiMP didn’t want to cross.

Of course, supporting export of playlists makes it easier for users to not only share those playlists but, potentially, jump from one service to another. The lack of a standard might not be intentionally designed to create lock in but it’s a nice knock-on effect for music streaming companies, or at least the dominant players, nonetheless.

On that note, WiMP’s Per Einar Dybvik, says: “We see no reason to force users to stay with WiMP, and therefore we are pleased to offer export of playlists. At the end of the day, what matters for consumers is the music, overall experience, choice and sense of ownership, not lock-ins and penalties.”

In other words, as music streaming services become a commodity, with strikingly similar pricing and offers, it will be the overall user experience that wins through. Import/export across competing services will go some way to make that happen quicker.