Thursday, 7 July 2011

Spotify: Much-Hyped Years-Old European Music Service Enters Now-Crowded US Market

Is the European music streaming service Spotify finally ready to come to the United States? When U.S. Web users visit they see the above image along with a field below the banner where a they can enter an email address to request an invite.

Haven't we seen this before, though? Spotify has been rumored to be coming to the shores of the New World for at least two years. It made waves at SXSW in 2010 with a rumored launch in the third quarter last year. That never panned out. Spotify inked a deal with with Sonyin January of this year and as of mid-June it had deals with three of the four major U.S. music labels. The only hold-out was Warner Music. Has Spotify reached an agreement with Warner and cleared the final hurdle to bringing the service to the U.S.?

Spotify raised $100 million in mid-June and the question whether a U.S. launch was imminent. That appears to be the case, if the banner can be believed.
Spotify will likely be a freemium service in the U.S. just like it is in Europe. Users have a set amount of music they can listen to for free before bumping into a ceiling where they would have to pay. Spotify changed its terms of service in April, lowering the amount of music users can listen to for free. Users can listen to 20 hours of music per month for the first six months. After that, the limit is lowered to 10 hours.
Will that type of plan work in the U.S. where the music-streaming landscape is much more crowded and competitive? Pandora is a free music streaming service that recently had an IPO. MOG and Rdio are both streaming services that cost $10 a month and allow for customizable playlists. Spotify has a lot of cool features but will it be enough to win the hearts and minds of American users?


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