The music streaming wars have been heating up a good deal, as of late, thanks in no small part Spotify’s long-awaited US launch. Since then, Rhapsody bought its one-time chief competitor Napster, both Pandora and Rdio underwent major redesigns and Mog finally launched a Windows client. Naturally, all of this has proven good news for the consumer, as services have a features arms race of sorts, gunning for the top spot. None of the contenders are quite perfect, of course — when Spotify launched, for example, we couldn’t help but note the absence of a browser-based option of the sort employed by Rdio and Pandora. Today’s announcement still leaves open that possibility, but it does mark a new web-focused strategy for the company — on that could arguably have a much larger impact on Spotify’s fortunes than a simple browser-based UI.
Today marks the launch of the Spotify Play Button — a name we assume the Swedish company settled on before Google announced the whole Android Market rebranding thing. The button is, essentially, a widget that allows site owners to embed songs and playlists directly from Spotify’s massive catalog of songs. It’s a simple idea, sure, but well executed, it could prove a major win in the service’s attempt to stand out in the ever-more competitive world of music streaming. After all, embedding music on sites has long been a fairly haphazard deal — unless you happen to have a deal with a proprietary player, it means snapping up something like a YouTube video, which often live in, at best, a legal gray area.