UPDATE 21/09/10 15:09 BST: Spotify's head of communications has spoken to THINQ regarding the apparent similarities between Spotibot and the Windows 7 Playlist Generator.
Music-streaming service Spotify has fans up in arms following the release of a tool which appears to be a precise copy of an independent work.
Indie developer Andy Smith developed Spotibot (opens in new tab), a Twitter/Spotify/LastFM mashup which recommends music and allows the creation of themed playlists for Spotify, as a fun project in his spare time - but it has now grown to one of the most popular third-party Spotify accessories on the web.
Smith's work is well know to the developers of Spotify - with the music streaming company having even given the developer free advertising time to promote his non-profit service.
Now, Spotify stands accused of deciding that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - creating a Playlist Generator (opens in new tab) that looks and functions remarkably like that featured on Spotibot, the first site to offer such a service - down to the presence of the "[x] [+]" buttons and the layout of the columns.
The difference between Spotibot's Playlist Generator and the one on Spotify is clear - advertising. The version which is hosted directly on Spotify features prominent Windows branding, and is entitled "The Windows 7 Playlist Generator," in what is clearly a lucrative deal for the company.
User reaction to what appears, at first glance, to be a somewhat remarkable coincidence has been universally negative. Spotibot users on Twitter have been vociferous in their derision of the company, using the hashtag #spotigate (opens in new tab) to discuss the issue and pour scorn on the company's actions.
Spotify's PR department was unavailable for comment when contacted regarding this story, but it's clear that they're going to have to perform some major damage control if they want to keep the community on their side.