Spotify coming ‘soon’ to U.S., albeit no deal (yet) with Warner Music


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The Swedish are coming! Spotify, the much-touted European digital music service, released a teaser on its website Wednesday saying it will ‘soon be landing on U.S. shores.’

The message, which triggered waves of media coverage across the Web, didn’t exactly tell the world anything it didn’t already know.


But the move was surprising because Spotify does not yet have the necessary licenses to play songs from Warner Music Group’s extensive catalog, according to industry sources knowledgeable with the negotiations. Spotify has secured agreements with the other three major record labels -- Universal Music Group, EMI Group and Sony Music Entertainment.

Warner, which declined to comment, sits on a treasure trove of music from Bruno Mars, Green Day, Led Zeppelin, Cole Porter and Eric Clapton, to name a few.

While nothing stops Spotify from launching without a deal from Warner, it would be hard-pressed to compete against other music services already in the U.S. market with such a gaping hole in its offerings.

Spotify’s entry into the U.S. has been much anticipated, largely because the service is so popular in Europe. The Swedish company claims 10 million registered users, including 1 million subscribers who pay a monthly fee for its premium service.

Its popularity partly stems from its easy-to-use interface, which lets people sample millions of songs from their mobile phones or on their computers. Some would argue, however, that Spotify’s success with consumers is also due to its generous free offerings, with lets users listen to the ad-supported service for free, albeit with some limitations.

Spotify has not said whether it will offer the same level of free access to consumers in the U.S.



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-- Alex Pham