STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The online music service Spotify launches in the United States today. It’s a hit in Europe, with 10 million registered users. But some music companies are concerned they’ll lose even more sales as listeners stream songs online.
From London, the BBC’s Duncan Bartlett.
DUNCAN BARTLETT: Spotify offers more music than any other website, except for iTunes. It’s library of 15 million songs is searchable and it’s free to listen online, provided you also listen to advertisements.
But for $5 a month the ads are removed and for $10, you can listen on your mobile phone. Fifteen percent of users in Europe pay for these services but some of the biggest record labels initially refused to join, saying it would hurt sales.
The music industry is struggling to find a business model in the digital era, and the industry has seen declining record sales for almost a decade, ever since Napster allowed users to download music for free.
Napster’s co-creator Sean Parker is now a managing partner at Spotify:
SEAN PARKER: What’s I’m trying to do with Spotify is finish what I started with Napster. The distribution model for music remains broken. I’ve been dedicating the rest of my career to trying to fix what I broke.
Leaked figures suggest Spotify aims to have 50 million U.S. users in its first year and plans a partnership with Facebook.
In London, I’m the BBC’s Duncan Bartlett, for Marketplace.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.