• Spotify May Challenge iTunes in the US as Early as July



    An epic battle among online music giants may soon commence in the US. It now appears that a European heavyweight in digital music is coming to the US after months of rumors suggesting such a launch is ultimately inevitable. According to a report this morning in the Wall Street Journal, Spotify may launch in the US as early as July.

    Why the sudden expansion into the US? It looks like a new distribution agreement with Universal Music Group has been reached. As a result, Spotify, which is currently available in the U.K., Finland, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Spain, will now come to the table in North America with a comprehensive arsenal of music for new users to enjoy.

    The deal, which one of these people said was signed on Thursday, comes in addition to similar pacts with EMI Group Ltd. and Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment. The remaining major-label group, Warner Music Group Corp., was in advanced discussions on Friday with Spotify.
    As of three months ago, Spotify said it had already reached 1 million paying subscribers across Europe. The company boasts some 10 million registered users in total. Although Spotify doesn't threaten to shut down iTunes any time in the foreseeable future, to think that Spotify won't substantially eat into Apple's digital music dominance is foolhardy.

    Two months ago, ironically, just as the company was believed to be engaging in its most aggressive talks to make the deals necessary to bring Spotify to the US, "more stringent limits were places on the amount of free music listeners could hear before upgrading to the paid option." Spotify's premium subscription service presently enables users to play an unlimited amount of uninterrupted music - advertising free - on both mobile phones and computers.

    There's no word yet on what the premium subscription service may cost in the US.

    Source: WSJ
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