Ever since free music streaming service Spotify launched in Europe in 2008, music fans stateside have been waiting for it to cross the pond. Just last March we announced its impending arrival, noting gleefully This is better than Christmas! Well dont hold your breath for much under the tree. After months of haggling, Billboard.biz reports that negotiations between Spotify and the U.S. record industry have broken down entirely. The Big Four record companies (Sony, Universal, Warner, and EMI) are apparently less than thrilled with the sites freemium business model, in which users get an ad-supported version for free but pay for ad-free streaming and mobile access.
After so many promised U.S. launch dates have come and gone, Spotify is eager to launch something in America, even if its not the full version. The bad press builds with each missed deadline — there’s now an entire blog devoted to the companys broken promises. Billboards anonymous sources report that the company is starting from scratch at the negotiating table, trying to offer a more limited service for launch by years end.
In the meantime, it is losing ground to competitors, from free sites like Grooveshark to paid, all-you-can-stream services like MOG. With the labels continuing to drag their feet, if Spotify ever does launch in America it may no longer inspire much excitement.