After years of anticipation and speculation, the popular European online music service Spotify has officially announced that it would indeed become available in the United States. The company allows users to stream nearly any widely released song, online, for free. Advertising and paid premium subscriptions provide revenue, some of which goes to record companies and artists. So when's it coming here? "Soon," it says, without providing more detail:
The company has struggled with its attempt to break into the US market: it's no secret that US record labels have been holding it back because they have been sticky about licensing their content.
People are being invited to register for the service for now, in the absence of any specific launch date.
After the company secured a $100m investment in mid-June (valuing it incidentally at $1bn - quite a bit for a company that is not showing any signs of becoming very profitable any time soon) it looked as though it would have the resources to close the deals.
Licensing streaming can be protracted; Google and Amazon have tried and failed to get the sort of licensing terms that they wanted over transferring and streaming music. Spotify, though, which can claim more than 1m subscribers and, more importantly, backing of music companies (through shareholdings and/or share trades).
Having arrived in the US though Spotify will be competing with a number of US-based rivals - notably Pandora, which has recently floated on the US stock market, and so has cash reserves with which to fight off this new competitor.
Read the full story at The Guardian.