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The European digital music service Spotify is now available in the United States. With the motto “Hello America. Spotify here”, users have since July 14 been able to sign up for a free, ad-supported version of the on-demand service, which is still invite-only for now. To register, visit Spotify.com and submit your email address. The company will distribute invitations in the coming weeks.
On July 6, Spotify surprised its users with the following message posted on its official website: “The award-winning music service that’s taken Europe by storm will soon be landing on US shores. Millions of tracks ready to play instantly, on your computer and your phone.”
In addition, as The Huffington Post reported two weeks ago “Amazon, Google, Apple, and now Facebook: The social network is reportedly preparing to launch a streaming music service in a partnership with music startup Spotify. Sources close to the deal add that Facebook users would see the Spotify icon on the left side of the newsfeed, and click to install.” They also added that the service will only be available in countries where Spotify is currently used, meaning that Americans would not have access until Spotify launches in the U.S.
In an interview earlier this year to The Huffington Post, Facebook’s ex-president, Sean Parker, called Spotify “the realization of the dream we had with Napster,” going on to add that he thought it was “really, really, really cool.”
As the Spotify CEO and co-founder Daniel Ek said once in a conference held by tech blog AllThingsD, so far the problem has been partly that Spotify is not just a technology company that needed to build and release its product. It also had to make complex deals with recording companies and he added, “When it launches, it will cost $10 a month in the U.S.”
Since it was launched in Switzerland on October 2008, Spotify has spread through different Europeans countries. The service is, as of May 2011, only available in Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and soon Denmark and USA. In those countries you have three different account types; Spotify Open (10 hours per month for free), Unlimited( unlimited music on your computer for 4,99 Euros per month) and Premium (offline mode, mobile device support, enhanced sound quality and exclusive content for 9,95 Euros per month).
By the end of September 2010, a Spotify spokesperson announced that they had reached the 10 million users, and he also remarked that the service did indeed have 10 million tracks by that time. While Spotify’s catalog was rapidly approaching iTunes’ 11 million figure, it was still quite some distance short of Apple’s 160 million iTunes users. This fact could be due to the reason that so far Spotify was not available in the States, which is the world’s largest music market, and iTunes is.
Recently, Spotify has also announced a digital music service with Virgin Media that will enable users to stream music through their televisions. Clearly, Spotify is gaining support from music labels and mobile carriers as they know consumers will follow. Spotify could be a welcome competitor to iTunes.