Spotify launches syncing with Apple's iPod

Swedish music streaming service Spotify on Wednesday launched an application enabling users to synchronise playlists and songs purchased through its service with Apple's iPod, a clear challenge to Apple's iTunes.

"You've also said you're listening to a huge amount of music on your iPods, and that getting your Spotify playlists onto them as MP3s has been a serious hassle, forcing you to juggle multiple music players. That's until now," the company said in a statement.

"As of today, Spotify is making it possible for everyone to take their playlists with them in one lean, green music machine," it added.

The changes to Spotify will make it possible for users to import playlists created in Spotify directly to iPods and to manage music on their iPods through Spotify, without using Apple's iTunes.

The new service will be available both to Spotify's paying users and the users of its free version.

It marks a shift for the young Swedish company, which had previously focussed on online streaming.

"Our users don't want to have to switch between music players, but they do want to take their playlists with them wherever they go, on a wider range of devices, more simply and at a price they can afford," co-founder Daniel Ek said.

The move comes less than a month after Spotify announced restrictions on its free version, slashing the amount of times a track can be played and the total amount of music users can listen to.

Founded in 2006, Spotify is one of the world's largest streaming websites and is available only in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Britain, France, Spain and the Netherlands because of copyright issues.

The company announced in March it reached one million paying users in March and it currently has around seven million users of its free version, the company's chief product officer Gustav Soederstroem told news agency TT.