The popular music streaming service Spotify plans to finally launch in America in the third quarter of this year, according to an interview between its Senior Vice President, Paul Brown, and Bloomberg. It had originally planned to hit the US in the third or fourth quarter of last year but reportedly ran into further licensing issues.
Although you may not have heard of it yet, Spotify has 7 million users across Europe in the UK, France, Spain, Sweden, Norway and Finland, and provides a legal and free ad-supported music streaming service of nearly 8 million tracks from both major and independent record labels. Simply download the software - which looks unashamedly similar to iTunes - type in what you're looking for, and you're away.
Over 300,000 subscribers currently pay for its premium service, which offers ad-free streaming, the ability to listen on your iPhone, Android phone or Nokia Symbian phone, and cached offline playing - all for around £10 or €10 a month (about $15). Users can also buy a "day pass" of ad-free music for only £0.99 or €0.99, and the service provides links to legal download sites where you can purchase single tracks or albums with Spotify receiving a cut of the profits.
"We’re buying server space in random parts of the states and there are licensing discussions too," Brown told Bloomberg, "But they are going fine because we’re in a long-term partnership with the labels and publishers." It all sounds encouraging that Spotify will finally be ready to hit the big time later this year.
Spotify is also apparently in talks to partner with "unidentified U.S. Internet and mobile-phone service providers" for the launch, and plans to create further mobile applications, this time for BlackBerry and Palm devices. The company's commitment to the mobile platform was reinforced this week with the news of an updated iPhone app coming soon.
So far in Europe, Spotify seems to be helping to reduce music piracy by providing a free and easy way for people to get the music they want, with most users willing to put up with the occasional advertisement interruptions to their music or pay for the ad-free premium service. Either way the music industry and record labels make money (even if it is not as much as from traditional sales it is still better than the nothing they receive from illegal downloads) and hopefully this model can be successfully carried across the pond.