American music fans will have to wait a little longer to try out much talked-about music streaming service Spotify. As Rafat tweeted last night, CEO Daniel Ek told the Monaco Media Forum that the launch would now come early next year as agreements with “thousands” of US publishers and labels are hammered out.
The London- and Stockholm-based service — available only in the UK, Sweden, Spain, France, Finland and Norway — had planned to launch Stateside in Q3 or Q4 this year. But now Ek says (via Telegraph.co.uk): “The US is a different beast…The US music labels want to get there and are very excited about Spotify but there are thousands of publishers we need to get signed up and fully informed about the service.”
It was always going to be a tough call launching in the US and Spotify has said its launch there will be “different”, though it didn’t say how. But now we have a clue: as Rafat’s tweet shows, Ek feels the “penny per play” model won’t work in the US. The company is, however, busy hiring in New York and has one staff member there now.
Spotify offers a paid-for, £9.99-a-month subscription service that comes with mobile carriage and unlimited listening, but the large majority of its six million or so users choose the free, ad-supported model. Labels and artists are rewarded a small amount for each play — exactly how much that royalty should be is the devilish detail that’s given headaches to many music and video players like YouTube.
One thing Ek seems more certain of is launching in China, a plan made easier through the company’s investment from billionaire media mogul Li-Ka Shing. “The potential is massive over there. Eighty million people have a broadband connection and its quickly growing,” he says. Chinese media firm Tom Group has been working with Spotify to bring its desktop music player to the country.