On Wednesday, the popular European music service Spotify announced that it finally will be arriving on American shores “soon.” Though no date has been officially set for the U.S. launch, a new landing page on the company’s website asks users to enter an email address to receive an invite.
It’s been a long road for U.S. fans of Spotify, who have only been tempted with news from across the pond and reviews in the American media that extol the virtues of Spotify.
Spotify, under its current pricing structure in Europe, lets users choose from millions of songs and listen to 10 hours of music a month for free. The service utilizes an iTunes-like interface but adds seamless features like playlist-sharing. In April, Spotify had to pull back on the number of free hours from 20 to 10, upsetting many users.
But the truth is that when Spotify does arrive, the service will face some stiff competition here, and not only from startups like Rdio and MOG that are growing fast. Major music and technology players have also been piling up their chips on a big music subscription bet.
Sony launched Music Unlimited ($9.99 a month for unlimited access) in February, while Apple recently announced iCloud and iTunes Match, which promises to store “matched” copies of all your music in the cloud for $24.99 a year. Oh, and there was that recent bit about Pandora’s initial public offering, putting the company’s valuation in the multi-billions.
Like many music fans, we’ve been watching and waiting for Spotify’s impending arrival, keeping a small score card by our desk as each of the four major labels came to licensing agreements with Spotify. Sony was first to agree, then EMI and Universal. The announcement of the U.S. launch is surely indication that Warner, the last holdout, has very nearly completed negotiations.