Spotify, the trendy music on demand service that has garnered tremendous media attention in Europe, has finally launched in the U.S. as rumored last week. Spotify announced earlier this month that it would become available in the U.S. “soon,” though open negotiations with Warner Music Group were reportedly preventing the company from setting a firm launch date. Apparently Warner finally came around. The Spotify service lets users stream unlimited music on demand, and also build and share playlists. For the time being, the free ad-supported version of Spotify that allows streaming to Windows and OS X PCs only is available as an invite-only service in the U.S. Those who don’t want to wait, however, can pay: a premium $9.99 per month subscription will let users stream ad-free music to mobile devices, share playlists and cache music for offline playback. A $4.99 intermediate plan will remove ads from the stream, but it doesn’t support streaming to the company’s mobile apps, which are already available for iOS devices in the App Store and for Android devices in the Android Market. A nifty little intro video can be seen below along with Spotify’s full press release. More →
Popular European streaming music service Spotify could launch in the U.S. as soon as next week, AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka speculates. Spotify announced earlier this week that it would be taking its talents to the U.S., but it gave no indication as to how soon the launch might occur. AllThingsD says the smart money is on a launch next week, and the blog has historically been accurate with its coverage of the Stockholm-based music start-up. Kafka reaffirms that Spotify only has deals inked with three of the four major U.S. record labels, but he says a deal with Warner Music Group is close enough to being signed that it should be completed ahead of a launch next week. Like Microsoft’s Zune service or Rhapsody, Spotify allows users to stream music on demand, create playlists and more. The service uses a freemium model that permits ad-supported content to be streamed to desktop computers for free, and then offers mobile streaming, playlist sharing and sheds the ads for paid subscribers. Spotify has not yet revealed pricing for the U.S. market. More →
Custom music steaming company Spotify on Wednesday announced that it will soon launch its popular service in the U.S. The company has been rumored to be in negotiations with major U.S. music labels for more than a year now, and it looks like those negotiations finally panned out. “The award-winning music service that’s taken Europe by storm will soon be landing on US shores,” the company said in a statement on its website. “Millions of tracks ready to play instantly, on your computer and your phone.” In markets where the service is currently available, Spotify allows users to stream music on demand for free to PCs. For a monthly fee, the service adds additional features and supports more devices, such as the iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Pricing and other details for the U.S. market have not yet been announced. More →
We can’t say it comes as much of a surprise, but Google has just taken the wraps off of a service many of us have been waiting for years to see… or should we say, hear. Google’s freshly unveiled Music Beta service will give users a cloud-based solution for storing and streaming their digital music collections — and we mean, their entire collections; Google’s service supports the storage of up to 20,000 songs as opposed to the 1,000 tracks supported by Amazon’s Cloud Drive product, which Music Beta will compete with directly. Google’s Music Manager app supports Windows and Mac, and it allows users to upload their tracks directly to Music Beta. The Web-based music manager is a full-featured music player that supports organization, playlist creation and plenty more. The related Android app features all of the same functionality as the Web player, and playlists created on one device will instantly be available on all devices. Recently played music is always cached by the mobile player, and albums can also be downloaded and stored for playback when data connections are unavailable. Music Beta is available initially by invitation only, and it is free — at least, it’s free during the beta period. Google’s updated music app with Music Beta support is available in the Android Market beginning today.
Following recent reports that Microsoft will soon be killing off its Zune suite of entertainment services and replacing them with a new offering, All About Microsoft has uncovered what may end up being Microsoft’s Zune successor. The blog’s tipsters claim knowledge of a new set of services currently being developed by Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices division. These services, codenamed “Ventura,” are said to be focused on media discovery and consumption — much like Zune. To help firm up the report, All About Microsoft also reveals a Microsoft job posting that references Ventura. “The Ventura Media Services team is looking for a highly motivated Software Development Engineer to help drive some great new service innovation,” the job description reads. It goes on to say, “In this position you will have the chance to help choose direction and drive innovation on some of the most cutting edge media services. Think large scale. Think Azure. Being a web and services group, our goal is to release early and often while maintaining high quality.” More →
A report on Wednesday claims European streaming music extraordinaire Spotify is “a few weeks away” from signing a new deal with Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company. Reuters cites people familiar with the talks in reporting the deal, which will give Spotify access to Universal’s massive catalog of music in the U.S. Spotify has already inked a deal with Sony and the company is thought to be getting close to a U.S. launch. Despite the company’s progress, however, the report suggests Spotify is considering a launch without having signed a deal with Warner Music Group, the world’s third largest music label. Spotify currently offers a streaming music service in Europe and has been making considerable efforts of late to launch in the U.S. The service allows subscribers to listen to songs on demand and stream customized Internet radio stations to computers, cell phones and other devices. More →
Following rumors that streaming music provider Spotify was close to reaching its first deal with a U.S. record label, MediaMemo reports that the company has finally put one in its win column stateside. Spotify today signed a deal with Sony that will give the service access to Sony’s music catalog in the U.S., according to the report. The terms of the deal are said to be very similar to Spotify’s European deals, which would give U.S. users access to ad-supported streaming to a computer for free or ad-free streaming to a variety of devices for a monthly fee. The deal does not mean that a U.S. launch of the Spotify service is imminent, however. The company still needs to get additional labels on board, and it has had a great deal of trouble wooing U.S. labels thus far. Theories as to why labels are so reluctant include fear of further cannibalization of CD sales and fear of upsetting Apple, the top music retailer in the country. More →
Spotify, the popular European streaming music service provider, is finally nearing a deal in the U.S., the New York Post reports. Following more than a year of negotiations with U.S. record labels, Spotify is said to be close to a deal with Sony and has “gained the support” of another label, according to The Post’s sources. Spotify launched in Europe in 2008, offering unlimited streaming music on demand. In its current state, Spotify offers free ad-supported access to users, as well as two paid premium plans — an ad-free £4.99 plan, and a £9.99 plan that allows streaming to mobile devices and station caching for off-line playback. The company has been fighting to offer its service in the U.S. for over a year but has been met with opposition from record labels, which are still uneasy with certain subscription models. Spotify would not confirm The Post’s report. More →
First and foremost, Internet radio lovers have some serious cause for celebration as Pandora announces a somewhat workable resolution to the ongoing royalty dispute that nearly drove the company into the ground. By somewhat workable, we mean it’ll keep them in business but it’s still paying the highest royalty rate in radio. What does this mean for Pandora users? Well it means they can keep using Pandora of course, and 90 percent of users will experience no changes whatsoever. For the other 10 percent though — users who don’t pay for Pandora One but stream more than 40 hours of music per month — the free ride is over to an extent. Any non-subscriber who goes over 40 hours in a month will have to cough up $0.99 in order to continue streaming during that month. $0.99, as in less than a dollar… We’d say that’s pretty fair. In all seriousness though, if you’re listening to 480+ hours of Pandora per year and not supporting the company by forking over $36 for a year of Pandora One, well, you should definitely consider it. So congratulations to Pandora on ending a 2-year fiasco. It might not have been the best possible outcome but hey, if it keeps the company afloat it’s not all bad.
The winners of our recent Slacker Radio Plus giveaway won’t be the only ones excited to learn that Slacker Radio’s mobile app has just received a major upgrade. Version 2, 2.0.2 actually, is now available and it includes a variety of bug fixes and enhancements. Highlights include faster performance / app response and much (MUCH) shorter gaps between songs. Transition gaps were one of the few complaints users had with Slacker but now once the app gets rolling, users can move through that 4 million-track library with almost no interruption. The BlackBerry version is available immediately via direct download (uninstall the current version, reboot and visit http://www.slacker.com from your BlackBerry browser) and it will show up in BlackBerry App World this coming week. Likewise, the updated iPhone app is currently awaiting approval and should hit the App Store this coming week as well.
We knew we had a few slackers in our audience and sure enough, you guys blew us away with some pretty remarkable levels of slackerdom. For those who missed it, Slacker celebrated its recent million-download milestone by throwing some free one-year Slacker Radio Plus subscriptions our way to dole out. We decided to hand them out to a select few who take slacking to a whole new level, and here are the winners:
- Tomnia, who is such a slacker it took him an hour just to build up enough motivation to leave a comment. Even then, he couldn’t be bothered with punctuation or proper sentence structure.
- Definitive, who can’t muster the energy to perform too many tasks in a single day so he decided to enter the contest rather than go to work.
- Nathan, who is so lazy he couldn’t even browse away from BGR and needed us to do his web browsing for him. By the way buddy, you’re looking at rain all week long down in VA Beach.
Congrats to our insanely lazy winners and a big thanks to everyone who entered. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of chances to win more great stuff from your pals here at BGR in the future.
UPDATE: Slacker loved the entries so much, they decided to choose three more lucky commenters to receive a free one-year subscription to Slacker Radio Plus each! Congrats, shika, poor and pjacoby!
There are a few big players out there when it comes to customized Internet radio but lately, Slacker seems to be shining brighter than the rest. This past week, the company announced two major milestones: First, Slacker now has well over 2 million songs in its library. For comparison sake that’s about four times the size of Pandora’s library. Beyond that, in less than four months since the app was released, Slacker’s BlackBerry offering has already hit the 1 million download mark. Wow. It took just over 16 weeks to reach a million downloads and support for station caching and stereo Bluetooth no doubt helped it get there as quickly as it did. So how is Slacker celebrating the occasion? By hooking a few BGR readers up, that’s how. Hit the jump for your chance to win a free 1-year Slacker Radio Plus subscription courtesy of Slacker and your pals here at BGR.
You won’t see it on the dedicated BlackBerry page just yet but rest assured, Pandora has launched the highly anticipated BlackBerry Storm version of its mobile streaming application. When we told you about initial BlackBerry availablility last month, there were two main caveats: 1) No T-Mo. 2) No Storm. Resourceful as our readers are, it was quickly discovered that the whole no T-Mobile thing could be circumvented pretty easily. The lack of a Storm-compatible build however, would prove to be a slightly tougher nut to crack (obviously). No matter, as Pandora unveiled an official Storm build via its Twitter feed last night. Enough talk — time to get streaming. Hit http://www.pandora.com from your Storm’s browser or look for it in App World to get your hands on Pandora Radio and let us now how it goes.