Today In Music: Spotify U.S. not imminent, “not even in Q1″

January 14, 2011

daniel_ek_closeupWe hate to hit replay on this one but following New York Post’s story today that European streaming music service Spotify is close to a deal with Sony Music and thereby close to launch we decided to call a few people to confirm.

It appears there’s still some distance between Spotify and the big major labels my sources tell me.

“It’s not happening anytime soon, they may be close to getting deals done, but the labels are still not confident about their business model,” one person said.

Spotify’s model is simply to offer free streaming of music to millions of fans with the view to converting a decent proportion of them to paying customers for the customizable features. You’ve read this elsewhere of course and here that the labels expect Swedish founder Daniel Ek (pictured) and his team to provide a boatload of cash as a way to reduce their risk on doing a deal.

But our sources argue it’s not as simple as a “show me the money” scenario. The conversations have fixated on whether Spotify will ever be able to get its conversion rate above 10 percent since they claim even in its best European markets its around 6 to 7 percent on average.

Then there’s the fact that there are already a fair few streaming subscription services in the U.S. including MOG, Rhapsody, Pandora, Napster and Rdio among others which Spotify would be competing with — unlike back home in Europe where it is by far the market leader.

When you take all that into account the same person says: “It’s unlikely to be this quarter.”

What does Ek think of all this — or specifically an imminent deal with Sony?

“As you already know we don’t comment on rumors or speculation.”

(Photo: Spotify)

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