So how does iTunes respond to the threat posed by Spotify, with this...?!
Looking very much at the small picture, Apple has this week launched 'iTunes Pass' in conjunction with EMI - an announcement so small (it skipped the Cupertino Hot News section altogether) I admittedly missed it until now.
To be fair, such downplaying is probably wise since all iTunes Pass does is offer customers a deal enabling them to download content from a specific artist over a set period of time. For example, the scheme launches with Depeche Mode and enables customers to pre-order their impending 12th studio album 'Sounds of the Universe' (due for release on 21 April) DRM free for $18.99. On top of this iTunes Pass entitles these buyers to the current single 'Wrong', the Black Light Odyssey Dub remix of new track 'Oh Well' and any other exclusive audio and video content the band releases over the next 15 weeks.
"iTunes Pass is a great way for artists to give exclusive music and video, on their own schedule, directly to their fans." said Apple VP of Internet Services, Eddy Cue. "iTunes customers are going to love getting additional content directly from their favorite artists right when they make it available."
I'm sorry but my bullsh1t-o-meter is about to explode. What nonsense. Not only is the scheme a pointless way to lock users into bigger purchases from a medium which already offers near instant content it does so at a premium. In fact, so fine is the iTunes Pass concept that Depeche Mode is the only artist to currently be signed up and any future agreements are so far limited to the stable of launch partner EMI.
For now iTunes Pass is also only available in the US, something I'm sure you're heartbroken about. Back to the drawing board.