Mobile site lets users stream to tablets and phones without downloading an app
7digital has unveiled a new mobile site to let users download songs without having to pay Apple's 30% fee.
Last week, Apple unveiled its subscription rules, which means content sold via apps on the iPhone or iPad must also be sold via iTunes, which will take a 30% cut.
However, 7digital's new HTML5-based mobile site lets customers buy and stream music from any web-enabled device, without having to download an app.
“One of the things you’re able to do is stream your previously purchased music through the browser using HTML5, so anything that you purchase in the past from 7digital, you can access that through the mobile site using a simple web-based player,” Ling Khor, 7digital’s product manager for mobile, told PC Pro.
Because users don't need to download an application to buy or play songs, 7digital doesn't need to give Apple a cut of sales.
Khor said the site had been in beta for some time, so wasn't necessarily a direct reaction to Apple's new subscription rules. “It’s probably more of a vision of 7digital’s to be able to provide access from various different devices, independent of whether it's Android or iOS or Symbian or whatever,” she said.
However, she did agree that the timing was convenient. "The solution actually fits really well because of what Apple has been doing in this space," she said. "For us, it’s an alternative for our iPhone users, giving them access to their music without having to install an app, without having to go through a subscription process."
7digital has previously submitted an app to Apple's store, but is still in talks with the tech giant on whether it will be approved. Khor said the app was similar to 7digital's Android app, which merely syncs already purchased songs, and doesn't let users buy new ones.
"Obviously, it [Apple] is pushing for us to go down the subscription route, but from our perspective it’s not something that’s really well suited to our business model," she said.
Like fellow music firm Rhapsody, 7digital is concerned it won't make enough money after handing a 30% cut to Apple. “It does effectively come down to that: the cost involved in setting [a subscription system] up and the cut which Apple eventually takes, doesn’t make it financially viable to run that service,” she said.
7digital also updated its Android app, which now allows music stored on SD cards to be played through the 7digital player, and integrates Last.fm scrobbling and headphone controls.