updated 01:20 pm EST, Tue February 8, 2011
Spotify and Warner hint US service getting nearer
Spotify gave a hint that it might be getting closer to its long delayed US launch. The streaming music network told those few who have test accounts in the US to choose a payment method in prep for when the paid Premium access goes live "over the coming months." While it had a copy of the notice, AllThingsD didn't get an indication of what the price might be or whether plans would change.
Warner Music chief Edgar Bronfman also contributed to the signs of progress for Spotify. While he wouldn't confirm any tentative deals, he showed an unusual warming to the service. Spotify and other services like it were "ever-more meaningful for [Warner] results," he said.
The statement is a major reversal of stance for the CEO. A year earlier, he had savaged Spotify in public. He cast the service and others offering free, ad-based music as being "not net positive" and threatened to refuse licenses for any of them in the future.
Spotify has been promising to expand to the US for the past two years but has faced stiff resistance from labels that prefer usually more profitable pay-per-track services like iTunes, Amazon MP3 and 7digital. The company has only just started making progress and is known to have had a Sony deal with a possible EMI deal imminent. Signing Warner onboard would likely be enough as it would cover the majority of music in the US and pressure Universal to follow suit.
In the US, the service might face limitations it doesn't in Europe, such as a reduced free catalog. It could still be less costly for the Premium version, as most predictions have it costing $10 per month to get ad-free unlimited music and access on Android and iOS devices.