US labels finally embrace music streaming

July 14, 2011

This morning I woke up to read one of the most exciting news of the past few months. As being reported by Paul Miller over at This is my next…, it looks like Spotify is finally launching in the US:

We can hardly believe it ourselves, but we just spoke to someone from Spotify with a totally American accent and confirmed that the unlimited music service is indeed launching tomorrow at 8AM ET.

This is fantastic news for all of you living in the US. I know there have been several subscription-based music services available for a while, including Rdio and Rhapsody, but to me Spotify is the one. This is when music streaming goes mainstream. I’ll never understand what took them so long. It seems to me that acquiring licenses to operate in the US should have been their No. 1 priority since day one. I guess American labels were even more skeptical about music streaming than their European counterparts, but I always assumed that once Spotify managed to acquire licenses in several European countries, the rest of the world would have followed soon. The real story, of course, was a lot more complicated than that.

Maybe the recent streaming services launched by Amazon and Google have finally awakened the labels and made them take another look at Spotify’s licensing model. Remember, the labels are not making any profits from either Amazon’s or Google’s services, since both companies have decided they don’t need to acquire licenses, maintaining they’re only acting as storage lockers for their users' already purchased music. In contrast, Spotify’s model is already proven to be working elsewhere, and it’s a small-but-consistent revenue stream that the labels can’t afford to ignore.

All in all, it seems that this story will finally have a happy ending for music lovers all around the world. Spotify is a terrific service, a huge value for the money. The client applications are awesome, it’s cross-platform, it works incredibly well, and it syncs your playlists across all your devices. Besides, if you’ve never seen a collaborative playlist in action, you’re about to get your mind completely blown away: it’s the ultimate party-preparing tool. Take it from a long-time Premium subscriber, those are the best 10 bucks I spend every month.

Spotify is a perfect example of how technology can make our lives easier. At its best, it is transparent, almost invisible. The only thing we should ever have to worry about is what song we want to play next. Now, if only the rest of the world would also wake up and join in, who knows what could happen. The music industry might even become interesting and exciting once again.