Apple approves Spotify app for the iPhone

LONDON - Spotify's highly anticipated debut for the iPhone has been approved by Apple, despite fears that the free streaming music app poses a worthy rival to Apple's iTunes.

An Apple spokesman said the Spotify iPhone app would be in the App Store "very soon" after weeks of rumours that the app faced rejection from the company's fussy app approval board.

Like its web-based counterpart, Spotify on the iPhone will be available as a free service, funded by display advertising, with an option to pay a £10 monthly subscription fee for ad-free streaming.

The app allows users to stream free music and temporarily store playlists on the iPhone, even without an internet connection -- a competitive feature to rival Apple's own iTunes by eliminating the need to purchase and download tracks.

Apple has been criticised for rejecting apps that seem to duplicate native iPhone functions, such as the Google Voice app, which was turned down earlier this month.

Daniel Ek, Spotify founder, told the BBC he was unsurprised the app was approved.

He said: "We had a great dialogue with Apple from day one."

The app will be available for users in the UK, Sweden, Norway, Finland, France and Spain.

The year-old Swedish-based service is used by about 2m in the UK and 6m across Europe -- hailed as a saviour to the music industry by analysts -- a reputation that precedes its expected fourth quarter debut in the US.

In Sweden, Spotify drives more online revenue to the major record label Universal Music than iTunes does, the company recently reported.

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