The Swedish service went live around 8am e.t. this morning. The service offers on-demand music at a premium no-ads price of $9.99 per month, or a service with ads for $4.99 per month. There’s also an initial free sign-up period with some limitations of the number of times a listener can hear a song for free.
Spotify‘s launch in the US had been promised several times before over the last couple of years, but they struggled to obtain licensing deals with the four major labels, who don’t take kindly to on-demand services that enable listening to any song or artist anytime and can therefore threaten actual physical or download sales.
Spotify has taken Europe by storm, with over 10 million users, more than 1.6 million of those paying subscribers. In Europe, they offer a free ad-supported on demand service that will not be offered here in the US.
While ten million is a big number, it pales in comparison to the 100 million that Pandora recently announced as their registered user base, or even the 26 million users that Slacker has registered. Those services offer free streaming channels that are highly interactive, but not to the level of any song, any artist on demand that Spotify offers.
So, it’s game on Spotify. A big move by a big European player that should shake a few things up.