For almost two years, Spotify has been trying to launch in the US, having hoped to go live back in 2009. Sources now report that their licensing negotiations with the major record labels have been restarted entirely. Thus far, CEO Daniel Ek has failed to sway them to go along with his vision for the U.S version of the service.
In the last month, attempts have been made to approach the labels with a clean state, but it’s difficult to determine what type of service, if any, would be possible to launch before the end of the year. “Earlier this month, Ek reiterated his claim that the service is on track for launching before the end of the year,” Billboard's Antony Bruno writes, “but also hinted that he'd delay it into next year if that's what was required to ensure Spotify launched under the model he envisions.”
At this point, its impossible to know when Spotify will reach the U.S., but, by the time it does, either the service will be gutted of its uniqueness or hobbled to the point where the user experience will not be worth bearing. This occurrance could be sad, sad news, in the place of what has seemed to be the very kind of forward thinking needed to revitalize the record industry and forge a brighter path forward.
Now, reports are floating in from the Telegraph that Spotify is vehemently denying the claims above, saying that the company is still on track for a 2010 launch. A company spokesperson countered Bruno's remarks, saying “Any talk of 'back to square one' is completely unfounded speculation and quite simply not true.” One reader wrote into Hypebot saying that the real question isn't whether or not they are launching, but if Spotify is currently paying royalties for streaming music to U.S. users who they know are using beta accounts.
This audience includes many press contacts who have written glowingly about the service over the past year, as well as, most people in the industry, who have access to the service. They write, "If Spotify is allowing U.S. users to stream music without having the appropriate deals in place, not only with labels but with publishers, or without making payments for U.S. users’ streaming, then it is problematic." Another interesting take. Beyond this point, it looks like only time will tell which story is shedding light into the the negotiations taking pace.