Spotify offers music play button for websites

LONDON, April 11 Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:14am EDT

LONDON, April 11 (Reuters) - Digital music streaming service Spotify is aiming to vastly widen its reach and draw in more listeners by offering to embed a play button on other websites.

The strategy echoes that of Google's YouTube which has become the world's third most popular website partly by allowing external sites easily to embed its videos.

The digital music market is currently dominated by Apple's iTunes, which offers listeners the chance to buy and keep music track by track.

But digital music streaming companies, of which Spotify is the most successful, have begun to challenge that model by offering large libraries of music to listen to and share for a flat fee.

Spotify has more than 10 million active users and over 3 million paying subscribers for its on-demand service, which offers unlimited streaming for free to those prepared to tolerate ads, or a premium rate of $10 a month.

The European start-up, which is backed by digital entrepreneur and Facebook founding president Sean Parker, has grown fast in recent months since launching in the United States and sealing a partnership with Facebook.

"It's a really smart tactic for Spotify to get new users. It's part of their strategy of becoming the de facto standard for music on the Web," music analyst Mark Mulligan told Reuters.

Spotify announced partnerships on Wednesday with web publishers including The Guardian, Vogue and The Huffington Post, and with blogging platform Tumblr.

Readers who are not registered Spotify users will have to sign up to an app that will run in the background, but will not have to leave the publisher's site.

"YouTube got to where it is today because people are able to embed YouTube videos easily in any website," Giles Cottle, principal analyst at research firm Informa Telecoms & Media, wrote in a note.

"Any web developer will tell you that, in an online world, you have to offer and bring content to people where they want to be, not make them come to where you are."

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