Spotify announced this week that it will soon be available to U.S. residents. The announcement came Wednesday via the Swedish DRM-based music streaming service’s website, where users can sign up to receive invites once they become available. In Europe, Spotify allows free unlimited (albeit ad-supported) streaming for the first six months and then 10 hours per month after that. The €9.99 premium service (roughly $16) allows for unlimited, higher quality streaming as well as access to the service from mobile devices. What makes the service so popular (it has a good 10 million subscribers in Europe) is its attractive, easy-to-use interface that allows users access to full versions of millions of songs from anywhere with an internet connection.
Spotify’s move to the U.S. isn’t much of a surprise. It was supposed to come to the States last year but was delayed due to contract negotiations with major record labels. Since 2010, Spotify has made licensing agreements with Universal, EMI and Sony, but the service has not yet come to an agreement with Warner Music Group. Warner, which has declined to comment to the press, holds licensing contracts for hundreds of artists, from the Pixies to Phil Collins. If Spotify doesn’t come to an agreement, there will be a noticeable void in the streaming options.
Spotify has not yet confirmed whether the same premium prices will apply in the States or not. In fact, Spotify hasn’t confirmed much aside from its pending arrival. Just a few weeks ago, an e-mail from an “executive of a major record label” leaked on Noisecast saying that Spotify would be available in mid-July, cost at least $10 a month and most likely be invite-only. This information is dubious to say the least, but Spotify’s official announcement does nothing to substantiate or debunk these claims.
Whether or not the service will eventually be available through Facebook, as previously suggested, remains to be seen. If this vague news is a marketing technique employed by Spotify to put U.S. residents on the edge of our seats, it’s working. The only thing to do now is request an invite and wait.