Spotify to launch in US after long wait

NEW YORK Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:08pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Spotify, the popular European music service, is set to launch in the United States on Thursday the company said.

The digital music service allows users to stream a limited number hours of their favorite songs for free every month betting that users will eventually sign up to a paid subscription.

Spotify, which has racked up more than 10 million registered users across Europe, has spent more than 18 months negotiating with major music companies to license top artists and songs.

But in the last few months the London-based company, founded by Swedish entrepreneurs, has inked agreements with Sony Corp Music Entertainment, EMI Music, Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group and independent labels through Merlin. It is expected to close a deal with Warner Music Group by launch or soon after according to a source.

U.S. music companies had been concerned that by giving away too much free music Spotify would end up cannibalizing their most important retailer Apple Inc's iTunes Music Store and other subscription services like Rhapsody and MOG. But in April Spotify introduced new limits to the amount of free music it offers.

(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke, editing by Bernard Orr)

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