updated 08:50 am EDT, Thu July 14, 2011
Spotify finally active in US
Spotify as promised has at last started up service in US. The music streaming provider is currently active in an invite-only beta but has 15 million tracks and the full feature set of its European counterpart. It includes an expanded free service with ads, a $5 Unlimited monthly plan that gives full streaming on the web, and a $10 Premium plan that gives full access on Android, iOS, and other devices like Sonos and Logitech Squeezebox systems.
Everyone has access to playlist sharing, including through Facebook and Twitter. A user can sync existing MP3s with iPods and smartphones wirelessly without needing Premium.
Spotify is mum on its leaked claims of hoping to reach 50 million users but is going through major sponsors to get the word out, including Coca-Cola, GM, Motorola, News Corp's The Daily, Reebok, and Sonos. Talk of deep Facebook integration has yet to come about, though Facebook has hinted a summer full of announcements.
The service is the second largest source of cash for labels in Europe and is considered by many to be a real test of whether subscription music will work in the US. Counterparts already exist, such as Slacker, Rdio, and Rhapsody, but these have had modest success compared to pay-per-track stores like iTunes. Rhapsody just reached 800,000 subscribers where iTunes is considered the single largest source of music in the US, digital or otherwise.