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Spotify captures the U.S.’s Eye

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clip_image001Spotify is the new word on the tongues of Americans but has long been an award winning app and service among Europeans. Finally, after years of negotiation with the four major U.S. record companies, Spotify launched in the United States on July 14, 2011 after already reaching 1.6 million paying subscribers in Europe. Paying? Yes, the rumors are true, this is a free service with albeit a few limitations.

Spotify is funded by paid subscribers, advertisements (just like most all free services) and partner retailers. Affectionately known as a “Freemium” service, Spotify offers paid services on top of its free service starting at $4.9 /month for the Unlimited package including no advertisements, unlimited music with no time limits and unlimited travel access. You also have you the Premium package for $9.99 /month in which you get full cell phone access, offline mode, enhanced sound quality and access to exclusive content. With the free services you will have to endure limited playback and ads lasting up to 15 seconds long but a library of over 15 million tracks streaming to your mobile device at 160 kbps…some tracks at 320kbps for premium users.

On your computer, Spotify likes to consider their app a ‘catch-all’, a one stop solution for all your media needs. “It allows users to steam music and playback local media. It can sync songs with connected media players (including iPods) and cache streaming songs for offline playback. It’s truly meant to be the only media player you need on your computer” as review by Matt Burns who writes for TechCrunch.

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So, who can compete with such an amazing service? Have you heard of Rdio? Well, if you haven’t yet, you have now! Rdio is more of a web service that launch in the U.S. on August 3, 2010 which also is working with the four major record companies. With a library around 8 million tracks, Rdio will stream to your computer or mobile device at 256kbps. A slight catch would be that Rdio does not have a free service but its price points are right alongside Spotify’s premium and unlimited services.

One thing that American’s have proven to be true about streaming media of the years is that we like our services attached to the ‘free’ price tag. We also value the option of no advertisements which might make Spotify the solution between the music industry and end users when it comes to media piracy. Many are hoping that this is the middle ground that all of us have been looking for; free music that we can access without worrying about being sued by the FCC or MPAA…or both, straight to our mobile devices. Only time will tell if Spotify will be able to resolve this seemingly endless struggle of piracy and the record companies, however, this is sure:

· Consumers are well postured in our streaming media needs with Spotify

· Spotify allows you to enjoy unpaid music with the relief of legal gratification

· Spotify is now a great option that will enhance your home integrated system

Spotify not only has landed firmly into the hearts of over a million Europeans, Britney Spears, Trent Reznor, long time tech investor Ashton Kutcher have tweeted raving reviews for Spotify. If you ever needed more convincing to give Spotify a try, here’s what the well know Naptser co-creator Sean Parker says about Spotify, “Today’s historic announcement marks the reversal of this downward trend and the beginning of a return to growth by the recorded music business,” Parker writes, promising a “new golden age of music”. He doesn’t end there. Below you can fund the full note that he wrote concerning Spotif:

At long last… Spotify launches in the US!

My thoughts on Spotify launch…

Today represents the realization of a dream. For a decade I have waited for a music service that could rekindle my excitement about music by enabling music to be shared freely across the world — all the while empowering artists to reap the economic benefits of selling their music.

Spotify is the service I have been waiting for.

Since Napster the recorded music business has been steadily declining and, until now, there has been no light at the end of the tunnel. Today’s historic announcement marks the reversal of this downward trend and the beginning of a return to growth by the recorded music business.

Spotify promises to get people excited about music again, and the result will be a new golden age of music–more people discovering and listening to more music than ever before. Spotify is removing the barriers to sharing music with friends so that music can move freely and find its fans organically. In this hyper-efficient system great music will find its natural audience. This means that more artists will find success, more fans will discover them, and artists will make more money selling their music than they thought possible. The rusty gears of the record business will turn again.

Since Spotify takes music viral, listening to music online is finally going to be a social experience. (Just like it’s always been offline.) And by making music social the experience of discovering and listening to new music will be more fun than ever before. While Spotify can be downloaded and used or free on the desktop, users of Spotify will need to purchase content when they want to take music with them “on the go” via their iPod or iPhone. In this sense, Spotify is the answer to piracy: migrating millions of piracy-based music fans to a legitimate platform where their consumption of music can be monetized and the artists who dedicate their lives to creating music can finally get paid.

So are you ready for your Spotify Invite now?  Go here and sign up! http://www.spotify.com/us/hello-america/

We would to love to hear of your experience with Spotify, whether you are a long time user from Europe or a brand new user here in North America.  Let us know what you think in the comments section!

-Alan

[via Techcrunch]

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