Digital music service Spotify has officially launched in the United States, where it hopes to build on its success in Europe and compete with Apple, Amazon and Google in offering streaming music.
Here's part of a report NPR's Joel Rose filed for Newscast:
Spotify started in Sweden. It built a loyal following in Europe by giving listeners access to 15 million songs. Users can listen for free on their computers, although they have to put up with some ads. But they have to pay a monthly fee to skip the ads, or listen from their phones and mobile devices.
Spotify had been talking about a U.S. launch for more than a year, but negotiations with the major record labels prevented that from happening until now.
In the meantime, Amazon, Apple and Google all launched their own cloud music offerings. That's in addition to Rhapsody, MOG, Napster and other established music streaming services.
Since Spotify was created in 2008, the AP reports that it has more than 10 million registered users in seven European countries; 1.6 million of them are paying customers.
Over at NPR's music blog The Record, Jacob Ganz runs down what you need to know if you want to try Spotify for yourself.
There's evidently plenty to find out: on Twitter, new user David Barnard had some complaints about the service: "scanned my iTunes library without asking, publicly published my playlists by default, and can't set up a profile without Facebook."
Another user had a similar story: "So the very first thing Spotify does is scan all your music and I guess upload something up to some server, all without asking? #rude."