The service was launched in Sweden in 2008 by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, out of a desire to develop a better, more convenient and legal alternative to music piracy. Spotify is now the second single largest source of digital music revenue for labels in Europe (IFPI, April 2011).
Spotify has more than 10 million registered users and more than 1.6 million paying subscribers across 7 countries in Europe; the US marks the 8th territory. With a ratio of well over 15% paying subscribers to active free users, Spotify is the largest and fastest growing service of its kind.
Spotify gives users on-demand access (with no buffering) to a library of more than 15 million song for free as long as they listen to a few 15-second ads. It then tries to persuade them to pay $5 a month for a computer-only version that strips out the ads, or $10 a month for one that can be used on mobile devices including iPhones and Android-powered devices.
What's more, users can import the MP3s they already own with just one click, to create a mighty music player. And with Spotify, users don't have to skip tracks they don't like, because they choose the music in the first place.
Users can also create and manage all their playlists with Spotify. They can also discover the most popular playlists on sites like www.sharemyplaylists.com and www.bbcify.com, or use clever sites like www.spotiseek.com to create playlists of new music based on their favorite artists.
Spotify is also sociable. Users can drag and drop music to their Spotify friends, or share with them via Facebook, Twitter, email and SMS. They can see their friends' top tracks, artists and playlists via their Spotify profiles, subscribe to their playlists and drop tracks into their Spotify inbox.
Users can also take their music with them by installing Spotify on their cellphone or iPod Touch.
During our invite-only beta phase, Spotify offers three services, from absolutely free to paid subscriptions:
- Spotify Free - the free music service. With an invite, enjoy on-demand, buffer-free access to over 15 million songs on a computer, social features, music file managment through Spotify, and synchronization with cellphones or iPods. The service features advertising.
- Spotify Unlimited - all the special features of the free service but with uninterrupted, ad-free access to Spotify on a computer. Available for $4.99 a month.
- Spotify Premium - Premium gives users access to all the music, all the time. Listen online or offline, on a computer, a cellphone and a whole heap of other devices. Access to exclusive content, competitions and special offers. Premium costs just $9.99 a month.
Daniel Ek, Founder and CEO of Spotify, said: "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. 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."
Spotify?s US launch is in partnership with Coca-Cola and Sprite, Chevrolet, Motorola, Reebok, Sonos and The Daily.
Spotify also works closely with a number of partners including Sonos, Logitech, Onkyo and Shazam. Onkyoplans to release a firmware update that will enable its 2011 network capable receivers beginning with the TX-NR609 to support Spotify.