Europe’s favorite streaming music service, Spotify, is finally on track for a US launch. The expected release should happen in the third quarter of 2010. The Stokholm-based company is in talks with unidentified internet and cell carrier partners about the details for the launch. Spotify’s senior VP said to day that they are already in the process of buying servers space in the US.
Spotify currently has 7 million customers in Europe, about 325,000 of which pay a monthly fee for additional features. In Europe, Spotify allows users to choose specific songs to stream. This is different from US services like Pandora which just stream songs from a particular genre. However, it is currently unclear what form Spotify will take in the US.
Mobile apps already exist for the iPhone, Android, and Symbian. These would presumably be available for US users. Would you be interested in Spotify? What features would you need to see before paying for a premium subscription?
Grooveshark is quite a predatory name for a music streaming service constantly under threat from record labels. The new year has gotten off to a woeful start for the music service, based entirely on user-uploaded content, with Universal Music Group dragging it to court over the presence of unauthorized copies of its content on Grooveshark. The fresh lawsuit comes barely three months after it resolved its legal dispute with EMI by agreeing to a licensing deal. In a filing with a New York State Court, UMG alleged that Grooveshark hosts unlicensed content from its pre-1972 catalog. The label also slammed Grooveshark for its refusal to deploy copyright filtering software, alleging that it has based its business solely on copyright infringement.
Reports today indicate that Apple is in talks to buy music streaming service Lala. Apple could be largely concerned with acquiring the technology or the people behind Lala. The streaming service has made a name for itself, but lacks a large customer base. Even with its recent inclusion in the Google music search tool, there are no indications that Lala is profitable. Apple’s massive music-buying customer base, could be just what Lala needs.
Lala currently offers users an opportunity to stream a song one time at no charge. Permanent access to that song will run 10 cents. Purchased tracks are not downloaded, but are rather stored on Lala’s servers. For 79 cents the tracks may be downloaded to the user’s computer.
Warner Music Group lost quite a chunk of change investing in Lala, so it will be surprising if Apple offers a large sum of money. However, if Lala could be integrated into the iTunes ecosystem as a subscription streaming service it could give Apple a huge source of revenue.
Update: Techcrunch is reporting the deal is done. New York Times reporter Brad Stone has tweeted that Apple has gone through with the deal and the NYT is updating their story. Stay tuned for more.
Microsoft is preparing to launch a music streaming service by the end of July. Peter Bale, executive producer of MSN, told UK’s Telegraph about Microsoft’s plans to foray into the music streaming industry in the UK. Its service will rival Spotify – European company that provides both ad-supported music streaming and paid downloads. In fact, Bale said that Microsoft’s music streaming service will mimic Spotify’s revenue model.
“We are looking at how other similar businesses have structured their business models and trying to figure out what will work best for both consumer and Mircosoft.” Bale said. He added that the service may eventually become associated with the Xbox 360, though he would not say how.