Spotify kills its app platform three years after its launch

Spotify is killing its app platform as it updates its desktop player and moves towards a more web-centric API model (hat tip to Digital Music News). The company told developers late last week that “future releases of the Spotify Desktop client will no longer feature an App Finder tab and will no longer support the presentation of Spotify Apps.” Instead, developers are nudged towards using the Spotify web API, which the company officially launched in June.

Spotify first unveiled apps within its desktop client back in November of 2011, suggesting at the time that it would allow third-party developers to innovate with the help of Spotify’s resources, and at the same time make Spotify’s client more social. I was initially skeptical of the value of these kinds of apps for both end users and developers, but some of the apps did catch on with consumers, and actually turned into real businesses for their developers.

Spotify’s decision to now kill these apps shows once again how risky it can be to build your business on top of someone else’s platform — something that Twitter developers learned the hard way in the past.¬†And Spotify’s web API doesn’t completely replace the app platform: Developers aren’t currently able to stream full songs with the API, which means that most won’t be able to replicate their Spotify apps as standalone web apps.