Spotify's U.S. launch is indeed on track for this year, despite last week's rumor that licensing talks between Spotify and the labels had derailed.
“We are in fact in a good place with our label negotiations. We’re confident in our U.S. launch later this year,” said Spotify Managing Director Kenneth Parks when speaking to Billboard.
Wired even got in on the action: “The allegations in the article are without any substance. We are in fact in a very good place with our label negotiations which have moved forward significantly, and we’re still on course for launch by the end of the year. Any talk of ‘back to square one’ is completely unfounded speculation and quite simply not true,” said Spotify head of communications Jim Butcher.
Spotify has been known as a highly popular European phenomenon until now (7 million euromembers) , but they're looking to cash in on an American audience.
Spotify has been buying server space in North America in anticipation of the launch, and finalizing licensing agreements with the labels
They offer a mobile version for iPhone and Android for about $15 a month, have ad-supported streaming (Freemium!), and also offer a chance to buy the music that users are listening to. They're in talks with Research In Motion (Blackberry) and Palm to move into other mobile phones.
More importantly, Spotify has the support of pretty much everyone in the music industry.
There's also talk of moving into other areas like set-top boxes and other web sites that would integrate a Spotify player.
The bigger question is: how will Spotify stack up against the new Google music streaming and the 800-pound gorilla of the American market, iTunes? Spotify is rabidly popular in Europe, and they're sure to make a big impact in the U.S. Throw in MySpace, Rhapsody and MOG and the competition is going to get very fierce.