Spotify in the US

For well over a year, anticipation has been building under speculation that streaming music service Spotify would allow U.S. users to access the service. Now the Swedish company has announced they are accepting accounts from America.

Started in 2008, Spotify has swept across much of Europe, where it has 1.6 million subscribers (up from 1 million just this past March). The delay for an American version was due, at least in part, to negotiations with the four major U.S. record companies.

Spotify is a Digital Rights Management (DRM) based service that provides streaming music to users who have accounts with the service. The accounts range from free, ad-supported subscriptions with a monthly limit of hourly use to those that charge a monthly fee and remove all ads from the site, have unlimited use and can be played on many mobile devices.

The service functions much like Rhaspody, the U.S.-only service that has been available since 2001. Speculators believe, however, that Spotify could take over the U.S. streaming music market due to its ease of use, estimated 15 million song database (as opposed to Rhapsody’s 11 million) and because of its already established user base.

Three different subscriptions will be offered with the service initially: Premium service (which costs $4.99 and includes no adds and unlimited listens), Unlimited service (which functions the same as the Premium service but includes the ability to stream songs on mobile device and offline), and Open service, which includes ads. As of now, the Open service does not have a monthly limit on listens like it’s U.K. counterpart. Additionally, the Open service requires an invitation before a user can join.

Obviously it remains to be seen how Spotify will perform in the United States, but the service stands to become a major player in the streaming music industry.