The much anticipated Spotify online music service has finally landed on U.S. shores Thursday. Spotify has previously only been available in Europe but now joins a crowded U.S. market of competing music services that include Amazon Cloud Player, Google Music, iTunes, MOG, Pandora, Rhapsody, Rdio, and Slacker.
As of this writing the Spotify website wasn't allowing people to sign-up for the free version of service service - rather only soliciting invitation requests. But you can sign up for the paid Spotify Premium ($10/month) or Unlimited ($5/month) versions of Spotify.
Better than Pandora?
Spotify's got a few perks that users are looking forward to: for one thing, it's free. And another thing--it lets you play tracks on demand, instead of listening to a customized radio station ala Pandora. (See Related: Pandora Unveils Redesigned Site ) Spotify also allows users to create playlists, share tracks and playlists with friends, and import tracks from iTunes.
Spotify's free accounts are limited, though, to just 10 hours of music per month and only five repeats of a single track. Spotify reportedly plans to launch two pricing options (both of which are cheaper than Spotify's European plans): a $5 a month Unlimited subscription and a $10 a month Premium subscription. The paid subscriptions will lift the monthly limits and allow users to stream music from mobile devices.
(See Related: Spotify's US Debut: Why You Should Care )
Prelude to Spotify
The announcement is no surprise--last month Spotify's advertising chief said that Spotify's U.S. launch would occur in a matter of weeks, though not before July 5. And just two days ago, Spotify's website started sporting a splashy ad declaring it would soon be "landing on U.S. shores."
Spotify's U.S. launch has been highly anticipated for over a year--mostly because of how the service will challenge current subscription music streaming services, such as Pandora and Rhapsody. However, the service's U.S. launch was held up by (surprise, surprise) record label licensing issues.
Spotify's U.S. debut will initially be invite-only, and you can sign up for an invitation over at Spotify's landing page now. Spotify currently has 50 million European users, 1 million of which are paying customers.