Spotify launched its own Spotify Apps platform

Popular songs service Spotify has released its Spotify Apps platform, which designers and media companions is able to utilize to produce apps to run inside the company’s desktop software.

The platform was released at a media conference in New York that bore all of the selling points of Apple and Facebook‘s set-piece keynotes, with leader Daniel Ek outlining the news with the aid of several companions.

Ek said that Spotify apps brings functions like better recommendations, ticketing and editorial content for the service, with launch partners such as the Guardian, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Songkick, Last.fm and TuneWiki.

The Guardian’s application provides album reviews from the Guardian and the Observer into Spotify’s service, creating on the two companies’ relationship for a number of live gigs in London. Read more about the application below.

“Today, we become a totally integrated platform,” said Ek. “We’re opening our platform in a manner that enables you to curate the apps that you would like, and really make Spotify yours.This may be the starting of something game-changing for digital music.”

The brand new platform helps make the rivalry between Spotify and Apple’s iTunes even more clear-cut, with Spotify placing its bet on being a Facebook-style open platform to compete with the closed iTunes ecosystem.

Spotify’s UK managing director, Chris Maples, also told the Guardian that “We don’t go into anything we do thinking is this the contrary of what iTunes would do?’ But Daniel grew up in the digital world, as did lots of people in the business. And the digital environment is all about sharing and collaboration.”

The applications will sit within Spotify’s desktop customer, although Ek said that if successful, the platform may expand to its mobile applications later in life too. The apps will be open to free and paying people that use the service, although for now, developers won’t be able to charge for them.

Designers will need to publish their suggestions for apps to Spotify for approval before creating and launching them.

Rolling Stone’s app provides album, song and playlist recommendations from the magazine’s staff, while TuneWiki’s shows lyrics in real-time as songs play in Spotify. Songkick’s app, meanwhile, will scan people’s listening histories and suggest gigs they might want to attend.

Spotify is also using the apps platform itself, to add new features to the service ¨C starting with a Facebook-style news ticker showing what friends are doing on the service.

“We have a lot more in the works. But more than anything we really look forward to being surprised by developers,” he said. “We believe they’re going to deliver amazing new apps within the Spotify platform.”

Ek did not address the recent criticisms of streaming music payouts to artists during the event, but he did defend the company’s business model, in response to a question about whether its payments to music rights holders risk becoming a bigger burden as more people use Spotify.

“For us, we don’t feel that those are onerous terms in any shape or form. We’re very happy with how our model is performing,” he said. “We are paying out the vast majority of all the revenues, and that’s really how we want to keep going.”

Spotify currently has 10 million active users, with 2.5 million of them paying for the service. It is available in 12 countries, and its users have created more than 500m playlists ¨C a number that has doubled since July 2011.

The company has a catalogue of 15m songs, and is adding about 20,000 new tracks a day ¨C although high-profile recent albums from Adele, Coldplay and Snow Patrol have been kept off the service by the artists’ management teams.

“The Spotify revolution is really to make access as an alternative to ownership,” said Ek. “We’re just three years in, but we’ve already become the second biggest digital revenue source for all the labels in Europe behind iTunes. And we’ve paid out more than $150m to the music industry so far.”

He also summed up Spotify’s mission statement with a carefully-crafted soundbite. “The ultimate goal here is to be as ubiquitous as the CD, but with all of the obvious advantages of being digital.”