Now that the company's pockets are flush with cash and it has tied up major-label music licenses, Spotify is readying its U.S. launch, which will likely happen this month.
No specific details have been announced, but for the first time Spotify has confirmed on its website that the service will soon be available in the U.S. The company is also allowing U.S. music fans to register for an invite to the service when Spotify goes live. On its website, the company dangled this carrot in front of prospective users: "Millions of tracks ready to play instantly, on your computer and your phone. Any track, any time, anywhere. And its free."
As we've previously reported, Spotify has been edging closer to a U.S. launch for several months, as it inked deals with most of the major U.S. music labels. There's still been no firm word of a deal with Warner Music, the lone major-label holdout. Although Spotify says on its website that the service is free, the labels have traditionally looked more favorably at subscription-based services, which provide a more guaranteed revenue stream.
In Europe, where the service is wildly popular, Spotify recently began imposing limits on the amount of music accessible to users of the free ad-based service, hoping to push more users to its paid subscription service, which offers unlimited music without any ads. The company is reportedly looking to charge about $10 a month for its paid subscription service here in the U.S.
Spotify also recently raised about $100 million in funding, which will presumably in part be used to fuel its U.S. launch.
We're waiting to see the official details of how Spotify will work in the U.S., and whether the service will be integrated within Facebook, as rumored. So stay tuned for more details as they emerge.
—James K. Willcox