Spotify, the popular European streaming music service announced on its Web site that it will launch in the United States soon.
The company was expected for months to make such an announcement. Spotify offered few details about exactly when the new service would debut but teased U.S. music fans with this statement:
"Millions of tracks ready to play instantly, on your computer and your phone," the company said in a message posted to its site. "Any track, any time, anywhere. And its free."
Angela Watts, a Spotify spokeswoman, could not be reached for comment.
Rarely has a digital music service whipped up so much anticipation. The company won over European audiences the past three years by turning the often arduous process of discovering new music into a cinch. The service also offered loads of songs free of charge to consumers. Then, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg anointed the company with a Facebook entry that read: "Spotify is so good."
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But Spotify managers also raised and then dashed hopes about a launch in the United States. Managers there were criticized for setting launch deadlines and then failing to meet them. Over the past six months, however, word began to leak that Spotify was finally signing deals with the top four record companies to license music in the United States. After that it appeared to be just a matter of time.
Music industry sources told CNET that Spotify U.S. will be similar to the European service.
In April, CNET broke the news that Spotify would cut back on free music in Europe. The new ad-supported offer boiled down to this: new users would get songs free of charge for the first six months after signing up and afterward would receive 10 hours of free play per month.
And what about that Facebook--Spotify connection? Last week, Zuckerberg told reporters that the social network has plans to "launch something awesome" today during the company's press event going on now.
Some in the media had speculated that Zuckerberg might roll out the kind of music service outlined in a GigaOm story last month. The blog reported that Facebook was working on some kind of music feature that incorporated multiple music services, including Spotify. Sources told CNET last week that Facebook and Spotify had discussions about integrating the music service into the social network in a more significant way.
Alas, Facebook didn't announce any new Spotify deals today.