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Spotify-Facebook partnership: Is a U.S. launch pending?

Consumer Reports News: May 25, 2011 04:28 PM

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According to a report from Forbes, Facebook is teaming up with Spotify to launch a streaming music service on its site sometime in the next few weeks. But the service will be available only in countries where Spotify already offers its service—and that doesn't include the U.S.

This news does, however, fuel anticipation that Spotify may be coming closer to a U.S launch. It's long been rumored that Spotify, a leading music streaming service in Europe, has been looking to establish a presence here in the States but has been held up in negotiating licenses with the major labels. One thought is that the Facebook deal will greatly expand Spotify's potential paid-subscription user base, enabling it to offset royalty payments to the major music labels.

According to Forbes, Facebook will integrate a Spotify icon on the left-hand side of a Facebook user's page, near the icons for photos and events. When users click on the link, the Spotify software will install, allowing them to play-songs from Spotfy's catalog right from the Facebook page and listen to them at the same time as other Facebook friends. Basically, the relationship becomes reciprocal, since Spotify already includes Facebook Connect in its interface.

The partnership comes at a time when the streaming-music space is becoming increasingly active, with recent or impending cloud-based music services from Amazon, Google, and Apple.

There's not much additional detail on the Facebook-Spotify arrangement at this point, but we expect more news to emerge once the companies acknowledge the relationship. So stay tuned for subsequent reports.

James K. Willcox

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