Perhaps the greatest jukebox of the Internet has arrived to Austria and Switzerland. As of last week, Spotify is available to Austrian and Swiss Facebook users, through agreements with the Austrian performance rights societies AKM and Austro Mechana, and with Switzerland’s Suisa.
Germany however will have to wait, because rights holders are still not granting any licenses.
Spotify allows users to browse through and stream over 15 million songs. Any new subscriber can listen to unlimited music for up to six months, after which the free service is capped at 10 hours per month. For a €4.99/month subscription, users can listen to music on their computer with no time limits and commercial-free. For €9.99/month, users can also listen to songs on their smartphone.
With the latest additions of Austria and Switzerland, the Swedish streaming service is now available in 11 countries, with Scandinavia, the U.K. and France being Spotify’s first markets, and including the U.S. which launched the service in July. According to Jonathan Forster, the European manager of Spotify, of the more than 13 million users, 2 million – or 15% – pay for their access.
Although the service is not yet available in Germany, the music labels are ready to work with Spotify to offer their songs and albums for streaming. However, Spotify cannot come to an agreement with GEMA, the German performance rights organization.
Issues with GEMA
While Spotify wants to compensate rights with a flat rate, GEMA apparently wants to enforce a charge per stream. This would make it difficult for Spotify to calculate the service and the profit margins would diminish as more users sign up.
Why can’t they just mirror the agreement they made with the Austrian and Swiss collecting societies? They would… but all the details of the agreement are secret.
Facebook Partnership Promises Growth
Representation in the major European markets is of great importance for the company’s growth strategy, particularly since Simfy already offers a streaming service with very similar features. Furthermore, according to a New York Times article, Spotify has apparently not reached profitability with its business model. The company lost more than 40 million dollars in 2010.
A partnership with Facebook will ensure a steeper growth in user numbers. Spotify is Facebook’s preferred streaming service and offers, among other things, the possibility to listen to songs with friends on the streaming platform.
Alas, we will wait with bated breath. Germany, stay tuned!