Spotify's U.S. Launch Delayed Again

Streaming-music service's CEO says negotiations with major labels are stumbling block

December 8, 2010 12:23 PM ET
Spotify founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon.
Spotify founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon.

The Sweden-based streaming-music service Spotify will not launch in the United States in 2010, despite earlier promises that it would arrive here before 2011.

At a conference in San Francisco Tuesday, CEO Daniel Ek said the delays stemmed in part from details related to licensing music from the major labels. "There are a bunch of companies that say they want to do it this year," said Ek. "But at the end of the day, you can only do so much that's in your control. We believe in our model."

Ek would not commit to a U.S. launch date for the service, which went live overseas in 2008 and has since amassed 750,000 paying subscribers across Europe. The European version of Spotify's premium service, which allows for unlimited streaming, costs around 10 Euros a month; the U.S. version of the service would cost $10 per month for unlimited access to its catalog. A free version, which would limit users to 20 hours of listening a month and which will feature advertisements, will also be available.

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Spotify has been praised by both tech and music-industry pundits for its sleek interface and comprehensive catalog; it claims to have 10 million tracks in its library, with new music added daily. It also allows users to stream their playlists on both their computers and smartphones.

"People also want to have access to everything on every device," said Ek. "In the past year, we've seen the adoption of smartphones. [The streaming-music service] Pandora has been very successful because of smartphones."

In other Spotify-related news, TechCrunch reported that at the Le Web conference in Paris, when Facebook platform-development director Ethan Beard was asked if his company would launch a music component soon he replied, "Spotify is Facebook Music."

Beard went on to note that Facebook became the number one referrer of traffic to Spotify after the service integrated Facebook's social-networking plugins, and that he hoped other companies would follow suit. "We want to focus on building out the building blocks of the social graph so companies can build on top of it," he said.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Live at D: Dive Into Mobile [All Things D via Billboard]

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