Spotify Restarts U.S. Label Negotiations, Or Not…


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.

Share on:


  1. Yes forward thinking, but that’s not enough. Is also has to make a profit. Most professionals can create an interesting service like Spotify if they spend a lot of money as Spotify does, but the key is not to make it “nice” but to make is so both costumers and content-providers are happy.

  2. If Spotify want to “revitalize the record industry and forge a brighter path forward”, they need to channel more of their income back to the artists and labels. In my country (Norway), several labels are now discussing if they should withdraw their music catalogues from Spotify, because very little income is generated. The majority of the Spotify users in Norway (600.00 to be precise) are using the free version of Spotify, and they accept the short and few commercials that pop up after they have listened to ten tracks or so. It seems that the income Spotify get from the advertising is too low (or the owners keep too much of it). The labels have calculated that in order to earn the same amount as one CD sale generates, a track must be played 6700 times at Spotify. – From the listener’s perspective, hovever, Spotify has been and is a great success here in Northern Europe. More and more people (most of us have high speed broad band at home and at work) just don’t care about buying music when they can listen to anything online without paying at all. I doubt that this will continue in the future. I am a struggling music artist mysel. If artists (unless the few that are heavily promoted everywhere by a commercial label) stop earning from their music recordings, why should they compose and share their new music at all?

  3. Until I actually see Spotify live here in the US, this is all bunk. So many people want a piece of the pie that Spotify is cutting up, especially with the gluttonous appetites of the US music industry, that there might not be anything left at the end of the day. I’m not sure a service like Spotify can survive stateside without the industry realizing that they need to shift their profit expectations, no matter how “problematic” that they be.

  4. Agree with the above, until they come to the US it’s all bunk. And, the only thing Spotify has over MOG and Rdio is a crippled free option, the other pricing is the same.

  5. There’s already free streaming everywhere. Spotify means nothing.
    Go to Youtube for free streaming. Grooveshark. It’s endless. Why pay a monthly fee?
    Hell, you can even download for free on Youtube via file converter.
    Artists are fucked until the Gov’t does something about piracy and these illegal sites.
    Plus, Spotify pays the artist very little.

  6. Instead of just narrow mindedly taking the side of Major labels attitudes (which have been failing for 10 years now by the way) Why not look at this as something that will impact the industry more IN THE FUTURE, when the numbers online grow to much greater than what they are now?
    The majors already lost millions by refusing to make deals with youtube, costing their artists all kinds of income, do you trust their opinions now?
    Come on! They have no clue what they’re doing.
    Do some research on why Spotify is possibly the next big thing in the industry, by for example, watching this video by Nettwerk founder Terry McBride: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQOWNU5-nNs
    Then you can have something worthwhile to comment about.
    Ignorance hasn’t gotten you far America, wake up!

  7. I agree with Jarome. Using Spotify via proxy from the U.S. made me consider actually paying for music for the first time since I began using Napster in 2000. Even prior to that, music was too expensive and not convenient enough, so I didn’t listen to much of it outside of radio.
    I am currently paying for Grooveshark since I like the ability to play music on my phone. It’s also a nice price point. I’d be willing to pay $5/mo, but Spotify and all these other companies have another thing coming if they think they’ll get significant conversion from former file-sharers to a service which charges $10-15/mo. In this economy, $5 is a good price-point, and it’s better than what you’re currently getting from most people, which is $0.
    Honestly, the artists complaining about making money is getting old. You should be doing it because you enjoy it, not because you’ll ever make any money from it. If not, there will always be others who will make music, so your complaining is moot.

Comments are closed.