Sunday, July 10, 2011

Spotify arrives in the U.S. and challenge Apple and Google

Spotify, "the coolest music service still can not use" (the second definition inspired the Wired article), is about to land in the United States. And while all the big names in the market trying to square the circle between music and 'cloud', this announcement is certainly not a novelty of little consequence.

Think for a moment: 13 million songs available instantly without having to download, available everywhere. It 'a service that simply does not offer any. And let's face now, in Italy is not yet available. Although in other European countries where you can use (like the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Sweden - where he was born) was a huge success.

The idea behind the Spotify is very simple: Basic is free, just put some restrictions on advertising and viewing time (approximately 20 hours per month) on the music that you do not own directly. And if you want advanced features - like removing the commercials, have unlimited time or download the songs on their MP3 players - taking the plans for a fee, by 4.99 pounds or 9.99 pounds a month.

The time limitations do not apply of course to 'own' music, one on your computer: in this case, if there are no songs on Spotify is uploaded, otherwise - without copying files to the cloud - they get the rights to listening. The success of the service was made possible through agreements with major and independent labels, which have guaranteed a huge catalog of music, though not always complete.

In the United Kingdom, for example, there are no records of Oasis and Led Zeppelin, as well as the Beatles (only available on iTunes a few months). These agreements in the U.S., because of the peculiarities of the system of stars and stripes, seemed more difficult to solve, but since the announcement of former days, should be largely overcome.

Spotify's arrival in the United States - created in 2006 in Sweden, can now count on 7 million users (of which one million paying) - change the tables in the music market, now dominated by iTunes online store, but allows the purchase and downloading of music, not listening to her stream.

Apple is trying to take a step forward with his icloud but the system currently in beta and launch this fall, is not perfect. On the other hand, even the other cloud services that are entering the market are meeting the needs of users: Google Music (in beta) provides streaming, but only of his own music and you can not buy another.

The service from Amazon, which is called Cloud Drive, is very similar to what Google offers for a fee (starting at $ 20 a year) unlimited space for 'store' their music, but only in certain sizes and with a system synchronization between devices not exactly immediate. In both cases all the music is copied onto the cloud, and collections are very rich it could take days.

Spotify then combines the positive aspects of various systems: does streaming in its paid version also allows the downloading of songs, not only based on their library and also has the scan-and-match to prevent the upload of a jig data already on the server. Hence its European success. What is still lacking to launch in the U.S.

Spotify is a date that has not been specified, but already leaked information about upcoming moves by the small Swedish company, the first and most important would be an agreement with Facebook to integrate music into the social network . And it is easy to understand how this could mean for Spotify.

The goal, say the rumors, is to reach 50 million users in the first year. And Italy can only wait.

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