Spotify is looking to become the free music engine of, well, everything. Today it released an API for Apple iOS developers that would let them embed the Spotify service into any apps they make as a way of adding streaming music to their products without the need for extra licensing.
The company announced the move on its blog, which is a little technical in the details of the API. But the strategy is clear. Spotify's API strategy is already well established and powers several unaffiliated playlist sharing services such as ShareMyPlaylist.com and Digster. This new API is directed at the iPad, iPod and iPhone community of developers. It's a bit different in that only premium Spotify subscribers will be able to access the full streaming capabilities of Spotify on these devices, as they're mobile, while the web-based developers can tap into Spotify's limited free tier.
Spotify's not nearly alone in the API effort. Rdio is another with a very open set of APIs. MOG has APIs as well, but takes a more direct partnership tack, as indicated by this weeks integration with Boxee. Rhapsody is said to be working on a more open API strategy as well.
What sets Spotify apart from the others though is its free usage tier, meaning for certain apps, a limited amount of free, full-song streaming music can be accessible immediately without the need to enter in any credit card or personal information.