The Swedish Are Coming

Watching the tech world get itself in a spin last week over the launch of iTunes in the Cloud - coming off Google and Amazon's rival, less fully-featured music distribution services - we couldn't help but feel it's all a bit of a storm in the teacup. After all, these services all still require you to buy music - at frankly extortionate rates - to listen to it. We gave up on buying music years ago, because we have Spotify.

For those who use it, Spotify has completely transformed the experience of music. Whereas once hearing a new album meant either buying it for £8 or downloading it illegally, now you can instantly hear it for free - or, for £5 a month, listen to it as often as you like. It's revolutionary, and it's enabled us to listen to thousands of musical artists we'd never have got round to listening to otherwise.

But the US has been left out of the fun. Spotify has been promising for years to open up in the US, but those old-fashioned legal issues have always got in the way. Now, if the latest reports are to be believed, a US launch could be on the cards. Spotify has reportedly signed a deal with Universal Media Group, the third of the 'big four' US record labels, to distribute their music through their service in the US. Once they sign the fourth, Warner, they should be ready to launch.

When could that be? Well, no idea, really. But if three of their rivals are on board, it would be odd for Warner to demand anything so different to them that the whole launch gets torpedoed. So we reckon our US cousins can get their music revolution on by the end of the year. Hurrah!

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