Breaking: Spotify Now Offering Direct iPod Management, iTunes-Style Downloads

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Spotify is now introducing a serious, iTunes-style upgrade – including the ability to directly manage iPods and purchase MP3s.

So, think of it as a totally-enhanced iTunes-style experience – without iTunes itself.

Spotify already lets users upload MP3s and manage that collection through its app, but now, users can directly synch their collections by USB-attaching their iPods.  On top of that, the same goes for any iPhone or Android device and associated apps – and synchronization can happen wirelessly over WiFi connections.

And, for those that want to purchase downloads for iPod portability, Spotify is now offering MP3s for as low as 50 pence (83 cents at current rates).  But, Spotify is packaging those discounts within bundles, and hoping to address a major portability gap in the process.

There are a few lingering questions.  One involves permissions related to direct iPod synchronization, specifically whether Apple is okay with this level of access – or, whether this will devolve into a compatibility war similar to that experienced with Palm or RealNetworks in the past.  The other is whether Spotify fans will start buying downloads to improve their iPod compatibility, or if most will simply skip the expense (we’ll vote the latter).

The update will automatically happen for all Spotify users today – if it hasn’t already happened.  “From today, Spotify really is the only music player you’ll ever need,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek declared this morning.  “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. Now we’ve made that possible on one of the world’s most popular consumer devices.”