Two years after first announcing it, Spotify is finally coming to the US. The service will be launched later today, at 8 in the morning EST. The company has signed a deal with the fourth and final music label just hours before launch and the service will be virtually identical to the European one, except for the pricing which, while keeping the numbers, is switching pounds for dollars.
Spotify made it official last week, when it said that it is finally coming to the US. But it still didn't have a licensing deal with Warner Music Group. In fact, the deal was signed just yesterday, after it was already known that Spotify would be launching today in the US.
But it did get signed, paving the way for Spotify to take on the US market, arguably a much more competitive one than what's encountering in the European countries it's been available in.
It took two years, but Spotify managed to launch in the US the same exact service it's offering in Europe, in terms of features and availability. This is what the company struggled to achieve all this time.
Too bad then that the service it's offering now is a much different one than what it offered two years ago, and not for the better.
For what it's worth, Spotify will have free tier in the US. But it's invitation only, you have to get one from a friend that's already using Spotify or from the promotions that are bound to show up in the next few days.
But even if you do get in, you'll find a very limited, ad-supported service. You can only play a song several times and you can only listen to 20 hours of music in a month. That's in the first six months, it drops to 10 hours after that.
You don't need an invite if you choose to pay though and it's probably worth it too. $5 a month will get you access to the millions of songs Spotify offers via the desktop app, to listen to as many times you like, ad-free.
Spotify has a catalog of some 15 million songs in Europe, but it's unclear how many of those will be available in the US. Spotify is launching with music from the four major labels and from the indie aggregator Merlin, so there should be several million tunes. If you want mobile access and better quality tracks, you have to spring for the $10 option.
Spotify has 10 million users and 1.6 million subscribers in Europe. In the US, it competes with Rhapsody, Rdio, Mog and Grooveshark. The biggest competitor, though not a direct one, is Pandora with 36 million users. Spotify wants 50 million within a year.