Spotify Goes Live in U.S. as Invite-Only Service

Thursday Spotify finally officially opened its doors to the American public after months of speculation and reported delays surrounding its deals with the four major record labels. The popular European music service arrives offering two premium subscription plans and a free ad-supported version that currently can only be accessed by invitation.

Spotify was originally launched in Sweden back in 2008 by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon and has since reeled in more than 10 million registered users and more than 1.6 million paying subscribers across 7 countries in Europe. Although popular overseas, the new service now faces fierce competition here in the States where Slacker Radio, Rdio, Qriocity, Rhapsody and a few others all fight for the American dollar.

According to Spotify, the free ad-supported service provides on-demand, buffer-free access to over 15 million songs via a web browser. Users can also manage their own personal music files and sync them to a smartphone or iPod device. In addition, the free version also features playlist management and Spotify Social, the latter of which connects with Facebook, Twitter, email and SMS, and lets users post playlists to which friends can subscribe. Eventually Spotify will impose a 20-hours-per-month time limit, but for now the free account has no limits as part of an introductory offer.

For an additional $4.99 per month, users can upgrade to the Spotify Unlimited plan which basically eradicates the advertisements and time restraints, and unlocks the radio mode. But for $9.99 per month, Spotify Premium offers "the all-singing, all-dancing, top-of-the-range Spotify experience." The 15 million plus songs are still available, but with this plan, subscribers can listen both online and offline. Spotify's library is also unlocked for other devices outside the PC including smartphones "and a whole heap of other devices." The premium account even offers exclusive content.

“We believe that music is the most social thing there is and that’s why we’ve built the best social features into Spotify for easy sharing and the ultimate in music discovery," said Daniel Ek, Founder and CEO of Spotify. "Even if you aren’t a total music freak, chances are you have a friend who is and whose taste you admire. I’m looking forward to connecting with some of you in Spotify and discovering some cool new tracks."

"Our dream is to make all the world’s music available instantly to everyone, wherever and whenever they want it," the company said in a press release. "Spotify makes it easier than ever to discover, manage and share music with your friends, while making sure that artists get a fair deal."

The free version of Spotify is expected to go public in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, we'll try to sneak in through the back door and see what it offers in comparison to the other services currently available.

  • the_krasno
    Any good proxies I can use while I still fail to live in "the first world"?
  • eddieroolz
    the_krasnoAny good proxies I can use while I still fail to live in "the first world"?
    You could try VPN, they're a lot better than those free proxies.
  • the_krasno
    Any reliable VPN's that cost less than $5 a month? :D
  • Khimera2000
    odd, my first post didn't post, any way.

    I don't really know what this will fulfill for me. I already use Pandora for music discovery, and i like owning the music I download.

    Unless there music discovery service can match Pandora's I'm not sure if ill be interested.

    Does Spotify have a similar formula to find similar music i like?
  • I thought you would actually compare it to Slacker, Rhapsody and Rdio? A comparison would be nice and is needed
  • aoneone
    Who cares? We will always have free F2P mp3 servers. Pipe down...
  • pocketdrummer
    Just google UK proxy. Go to guerrillamail and get a temp e-mail. Google london postal code. Use the proxy to get to, Use the temp e-mail and london postal to make an account.

    Use that until you finally get an invitation or they open it up all the way.
  • hellwig
    What is the record industries problem with this service here in the U.S. if they already allowed the service in Europe for 3 years (it's the same labels)? I'm guessing the labels wanted Spotify to get rid of the free service and charge probably $100/month for the basic service. I swear, the recording industry won't be content until everyone pays them a monthly stipend just to keep the industry alive, and at that point, they probably won't even be producing music anymore, just taking our money.

    Still, I remember paying for Yahoo Music some time ago, it was nice (online, offline, synch to certain devices), but I didn't find myself listening to enough different music to justify the cost. I guess my own tastes are too specific. Besides, online streaming? That was more practical in the days of dial-up than it is with today's ridiculous data capping here in the U.S. How quickly will spotify (or pandora or Amazon Cloud of Google Cloud or Apple iCloud) eat up your phone's data plan? Albums in 260kbps quality seem to be around 100+MB a piece, so you get about what, 20-hours of listening before you hit your 2GB limit with AT&T, good luck with that.
  • mhult
    I have some spotify invitations to give away. PM me you e-mail address, and I'll invite you.
  • yesineed
    Greetings Americans!

    I live in Norway, and have subscribed to the Spotify Premium service for 2 years. It generates 4 invites or so each month.