updated 04:20 pm EST, Thu February 17, 2011
Spotify now has EMI for US deal
Spotify may now be as little as one more label deal away from a US launch but could by stymied by Apple's subscription rules, sources said Thursday. EMI would join Sony and could see it clinch a deal for music streaming if it gets at least Universal. AllThingsD's contacts didn't know how close either Universal or its smaller rival Warner might be to reaching a compromise.
The Warner deal may be the more likely of the two. CEO Edgar Bronfman recently reversed his vocal opposition to Spotify and was leaning towards such services as a way of getting revenue. Labels have previously soured on Spotify since the majority of its customers use the free, ad-supported version, but its sheer ubiquity in Europe has made it the top source of music revenue even with only a small percentage paying for the Premium edition.
A rapid deal would nonetheless come as Apple would effectively block Spotify from the iPhone, the service's main mobile platform and a key source of Premium users. The requirements both to offer in-app iTunes subscriptions and to require that prices in-app are no higher than elsewhere could make it financially untenable for Spotify to charge the widely anticipated $10 per month. Other Internet music streaming services like Rhapsody have already objected to the terms and have threatened to sue, since the terms not only hurt companies that have been profiting from iPhone owners but conveniently kick out competitors to iTunes.