We’ve seen some impressive mobile apps that stream music using Spotify’s platform – Soundrop.fm and SpotOn Radio for example – but none focused on individual artists. That’s now changed with a partnership between EMI Nordic and Mobile Backstage, and five new artist apps for iPhone.

The apps are for Susanne Sundfør, Morten Abel, Alina Devecerski, Christopher and Magnus Uggla, and use the Libspotify API to let Spotify Premium subscribers stream the artists’ full singles and albums from within their apps, rather than pushing them back to the main Spotify app.

Other features include messaging, social interaction, Twitter and Facebook feeds, ticketing and iTunes buy links for non-Spotify users.

“We have specifically collaborated with five artists whose fans value being able to consume music portably and want to feel closer and more connected with the artist through social media experiences,” says EMI Music Nordic’s head of innovation and insight Paul Sonkamble.

The idea of playing full music in artists’ mobile apps isn’t new. Some have simply streamed it in or preloaded it – the recent Calvin Harris 18 Months app was a good example – while others like Jay-Z’s Decoded made the music available as in-app purchases. Others have included a feature to play the songs if they’re already stored locally on the user’s device, but EMI’s apps are the first we’ve seen that use Spotify.

What about fans who use Deezer, WiMP, Rdio or other streaming services though? Or, indeed, fans with Android smartphones? In time, and as Spotify’s rivals ramp up their own API efforts, we sense these kinds of apps will offer more choices for fans.

But it’s a trend worth watching: artist apps as music players, not just music promotion and/or fan-focused communities. Not least because by using a licensed streaming service, every play within the EMI Nordic apps will be generating revenue for the label, artists and songwriters.