Spotify Free Streaming Music Service Launches in the US
Spotify, the free music streaming service has finally launched in the US after protracted wrangling with the major US music companies.
Spotify was launched in 2008 as a legal alternative to music piracy with convenience at it’s heart. It was this convenience, coupled with a business model based on advertising rather than paid membership, that saw the service go viral and quickly claim millions of European users.
Since starting, the Spotify service has also added paid membership options with a premium service that allows music to be streamed to mobile phones, the advertising removed and early access to artists material.
It now has some 15 million songs in it’s library, 10 million users with around 1.5 million people using the paid membership service.
It is unclear whether the US version of Spotify will continue to support the free streaming music service past it’s initial beta period, as has happened in Europe. This would leave it with just the paid membership models to support it’s service.
It is thought that the free streaming music service was the point on which the US record companies were unhappy about. The fact that the service has now launched suggests that they have found a compromise…. with conditions attached.
One thing is sure and that is that Spotify will be difficult to ignore in the coming months, they have partnered up with some of the biggest US brands around such as Coca-Cola and Virgin Media. It is also rumoured that a tie-in with Facebook could be announced soon.
A hookup with the social networking site would give it a quick and easy way to rapidly expand it’s user base well beyond it’s current level.
With a current market valuation placed on it of about $1 billion, it will be under pressure to back that up with a rapid increase in it’s userbase.
With major companies such as Apple’s iCloud service being potential rivals it needs to cement it’s position as market leader.