For what seems like an eternity, friends of mine living in Europe having been taunting me with Spotify. “Oh, what, you can’t access Spotify in the U.S.? Oh well…HAHAHA!” Euro D*cks. However, starting today, they can’t taunt me, or you or anyone else living in the U.S., any more!
What is Spotify, you ask? It’s basically an endless library of music. The ultimate collectors ultimate collection. On your computer and all your mobile devices. And it’s free — though you’ll need to secure an invite for the free service for now — for up to a certain number of hours per month anyway. Additionally, they offer unlimited plans no higher than ten bucks per month ($4.99 per month for unlimited, ad-free service on your computer, $9.99 for unlimited ad-free service on your computer and mobile devices).
People who have used it (Euro d*cks!) have long insisted non-hyperbolically that it’s life-changing. Some have called it an iTunes killer. How does it differ from, say, Pandora, you ask? Well, because it has agreements with just about every record label on the planet, the company claims that there is virtually no song it can’t provide a user with. Yeah, I’ll admit it — I’m mildly pumped about this.
Here’s an introductory video Spotify put out in conjunction with the launch…
Sweden-based Spotify initially launched in Europe in October 2008, and much to the envy of U.S. music fans, Europeans talked about the 15-million-song service as if it were the greatest thing since the invention of the Internet. Finally U.S. users are getting a taste with today’s launch.
“We’re so excited to bring what we humbly feel is the best music service in the world to the U.S. today,” said Ken Parks, Chief Content Officer and Managing Director of Spotify North America. “The response has already been amazing and we hope that people in the U.S. will love Spotify as much as they do in Europe.”
Two areas Spotify hopes to stand out with are social experience and the catalog. With social, the company lets users share tracks and playlists with friends with a single click. Users can sign into Facebook for even more integration with already established connections. The other area is the company’s music catalog, which consists of 15 million tracks.
The biggest established competitors to Spotify in the U.S. are MOG, Rdio, Rhapsody, and Napster. Spotify hopes to challenge those properties with hype, the promise of free music, and a strong financial backing that includes support of the all the major U.S. record companies.
As great as Spotify sounds, some think that the service may fall flat in the U.S., like some hot European trends tend to do. Reports the Atlantic Wire:
…this wouldn’t be the first time a European trend didn’t exactly translate in the U.S. Monarchy; the metric system; Kate Price; Travis; they all made it big over there, but fell flat in America. The English are used to this sort of thing, they almost expect Spotify to fail, as The Telegraph’s Emma Barnett, notes “It’s like watching one of our favourite bands trying to crack the US music market – we will them to succeed but are not surprised when they regularly don’t.”
And, Spotify may have a harder time than a British pop band: It has lots of competition in an already saturated market. U.S. techies are excited for a new music toy, but the average American already has a cloud service of choice. “Spotify’s launch has been eagerly awaited by early technology adopters in the US.” Contines Barnett, “However, it is entering a crowded and well-established marketplace with services like Rhapsody, Mog and Pandora, already occupying lots of mindshare and music lovers’ time.”
Whatever. I’m pumped and plan on signing up for the premium service later when I have free time. This is me right now, Ron Swanson dancing in a tiny hat…