Spotify and record labels in talks over free streaming on mobile devices

Spotify 0.5 for iOS (iPad screenshot 003)

I get literally 90+ percent of my digital music through Spotify. Just ten bucks a month buys me unlimited, high-quality, ad-free streaming. Apple’s à la carte iTunes downloads just don’t stand a chance. But Spotify isn’t the juggernaut of Apple’s calibre so no wonder record labels have limited free streaming to computers and notebooks. That could change now as the Swedish startup is reportedly in talks with content owners over extending free streaming to smartphones and tablets like iPads and iPhones…

The Verge has the story:

Spotify, the popular music subscription service, is due to meet in the coming weeks with its major counterparts in the record industry to renew their licensing agreements.

The Verge has learned that managers at Spotify are expected to ask for substantial price breaks from the music labels as well as the rights to extend its free pricing tier to mobile devices.

The publication also notes these negotiations with the music industry’s big three labels “will likely go a long way to determining whether Spotify reaches profitability”.

One could also decipher this as a pre-emptive move ahead of a rumored iTunes music streaming service that The Wall Street Journal said Apple’s been working on since last year (and analysts concur).

Last we heard, the negotiations between Apple and labels over streaming rights were in a standstill.

The benefits of music streaming are obvious: you could sample full tracks on your iPhone even if you didn’t sign up for a Spotify Premium subscription tier and keep many, many, many more tracks on your device because music files are loaded from the cloud on demand rather than waste your device’s storage.

Spotify sbuscription tiers

All major and many independent record labels have their content on Spotify, including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group and Universal.

By December 2012, Spotify had 20 million users: five million have signed up for either the $4.99 a month or $9.99 a month subscription plan and the remaining fifteen million stream lower-quality music for free in exchange for ads.

Spotify earlier this month announced a major expansion of its service, now available in Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Have you tried Spotify yet?

And more importantly, are you a paid subscriber or do you still buy your music from iTunes?