Spotify To Launch In The U.S. On Thursday
July 13, 2011 at 4:52 PM (PT)
Confirming an ALL ACCESS report last week (NET NEWS, 7/8), music-streaming service SPOTIFY will officially launch TOMORROW, offering content from all four major label groups. The NY TIMES reports that the company will offer the same three-tiered plan that it uses in EUROPE -- a free, ad-supported version; a basic ad-free version for $5 a month; and a premium service for $10 a month that adds access on a mobile phone, higher audio quality and other perks.
While paid subscriptions will be available right away, the free version will at first be available by invitation only, given out through current users or by the company to the thousands who have requested the service on TWITTER and through its website.
To be sure, SPOTIFY faces several challenges to American success. On top of a bevy of rivals, to appease the labels, the company limits free users to 20 hours of listening a month for the first six months and only 10 hours of listening a month after that. What's more, no song can be listened to more than five times in a month.
Possibly the biggest challenge, of course, will be profitability. SPOTIFY lost $26.5 million in 2009 -- and has yet to report its 2010 financial performance. Its ace in the hole is its affiliation with FACEBOOK. Users in the U.S. -- just like their European brethren -- will be able to easily share songs with friends and play with features like drag-and-drop playlists. SPOTIFY has also been in talks with FACEBOOK to help it develop an extensive media platform to help raise its profile here