Spotify Reaches Deal With Universal

Will a U.S. version be ready for a summer launch?

After months of speculation that Spotify might finally be ready for its long-awaited U.S. launch, that goal is looking closer than ever. The music streaming service has repeatedly set dates and failed to meet them, and according to its latest estimation, it’s aiming for an early July launch. But this time, it actually might happen.

All Things D reported Friday that Spotify had signed a distribution deal with Universal Music Group, meaning that the music provider now has deals with three out of the four top labels. (It’s already made pacts with EMI and Sony.) If Spotify comes to an agreement with Warner Music Group, the last major label left without a deal, it could be on track for the July launch. According to The Wall Street Journal, as of Friday, Warner and Spotify were in “advanced discussions,” and insiders told All Things D that they were “optimistic a deal will get done."

Insiders indicate that Spotify will likely copy its “freemium” model for its U.S. service, which would allow users a certain amount of music per month for free, and paid subscribers would get unlimited access for around $10 per month. Since the Spotify chatter first began last winter, Amazon, Google, and Apple have all launched their own cloud music services, but as All Things D points out, the major difference is that while the U.S. companies allow you to stream music you already own, Spotify gives you access to music you don’t have.