There's a been a lot of talk this week about Spotify and it's impending release in the United States. So, what the heck is Spotify and why should you care?
Spotify is a music streaming service available in Europe that lets users stream ad-supported music for free up to twenty hours a week. Unlike Pandora, it is not like a radio station. It actually lets you listen to anything you want- an entire catalogue, an album, a playlist you've created, etc. It has been available in most of Europe for quite a while. So far the company has been having some trouble with its attempts to launch in the US because of a lack of cooperation from some of the major labels.
In recent weeks, there has been speculations that Spotify would launch without the other majors on board and attempt to negotiate once they'd already gained a market here in an attempt to launch before the end of the year. However, in a recent interview CEO Daniel Ek said that it would not be launching this year.
Word is though that when it does launch here a free version will be available as well as a paid subscription for $10 a month. What does this mean for the US music industry? Some fear it could mean an even further decline in music income as consumers trade purchases for streams. However, considering how easy it already is to stream music on Youtube, Pandora, or other similar sites I'm not sure that will be the case. On the other hand, it may provide an incentive to buy even more music by letting people try it before they buy it.
Frankly, I think Spotify has the potential to revolutionize the industry in the same way iTunes and iPods did and I can't wait to see what happens. Hopefully Spotify will debut soon and we'll find out for sure. In the mean time, you can sign up on their site, here, to receive an invitation.