UPDATED: Spotify plans U.S. debut

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iPhone vendor Apple said it approved Spotify's music application for the device, more than a month after Spotify submitted the offering. The move relieves concerns Apple would block the app over fears it could cannibalize iTunes' sales of digital downloads, and sets the stage for Spotify's planned U.S. launch.

Spotify's Jim Butcher said the company is planning to launch in the U.S. next year, though he did not provide any additional details.

Apple's approval of Spotify's iPhone app is notable since the service allows users to stream any music they wish, which puts it into possible competition with Apple's iTunes store. Indeed, the service has generated a significant amount of buzz in Europe. According to the Financial Times, recent investments in Spotify set its value at a whopping $250 million. Spotify's streaming music service for desktop computers is currently limited to a handful of European countries, likely due to music licensing restrictions.

The iPhone is but one of Spotify's mobile strategies. U.K. operator 3 has been rumored to be closing in on a deal to distribute Spotify's streaming music service to its 4.4 million subscribers. And Spotify in March initiated a campaign to look for mobile apps developers for the iPhone, S60 and Google Android platforms. However, Spotify faces a number of challengers in the white-hot market for music services in Europe. Already, Nokia is pushing its Comes with Music service in the region, and Orange recently announced its streaming music service deal with Universal, dubbed "Monkey." Even on the iPhone Spotify faces competition from the likes of Pandora, Shazam, Sirius XM, iheart radio and more.

Apple's approval of Spotify for its App Store comes on the heels of its recent dustup with the FCC. The company recently responded to an FCC inquiry into Google's Voice application for the iPhone, saying Google Voice "appears to alter the iPhone's distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone's core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail." The comments highlight Apple's reluctance to approve applications it feels could supplant its own services for the device. However, Apple said it is still reviewing Google's Voice submission.

For more:
- see this Financial Times article
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this mocoNews.net article

Related articles:
3UK and Spotify close to mobile music service agreement
Orange: Using free music downloads to attract youth market
Rumour mill: Nokia's Comes with Music, Films and Games

Article updated Aug. 28 with additional information.