If you were hoping that Spotify CEO Daniel Ek would use his South by Southwest Interactive keynote to announce a launch date for the U.S., no such luck (although Rafat has a source who says possibly end of May). Ek’s biggest bit of news: Spotify now has more than 320,000 paid subscribers, up from the 250,000 number the company last acknowledged earlier this year. Nothing specific on the pace.
What’s holding Spotify back in the U.S.? “We are seeing a lot of support. We want to get all of our ducks in a row to make maximum impact” when we do launch.” The number of parties involved makes it more complicated for Spotify to negotiate rights in the U.S. than in Europe. More from Ek:
— Not a social net: Spotify’s communal playlists may seem like a precursor to a social network but Ek was quite clear: “We don’t believe in being our own social network; we believe in working with social networks.” For instance, Ek has experienced first hand how frustrating it can be when someone messes with a playlist you’ve spent time and energy developing. One way to solve some of that would be to add permission levels for different groups of users so people have varying rights. If social nets add that feature, Spotify can incorporate it.
— P2P: I’m sure it was just a coincidence that I lost my wireless connection just as Ek was explaining how using Spotify’s p2p can reduce demands on bandwidth. “We’re consuming more internet capacity than Sweden has as a country … p2p solves the problem in an elegant way.”
— Apple: Ek doesn’t have any inside knowledge but expects Apple to launch a cloud-based music model. “People want to share, to access independently. I think it makes a lot of sense for them to do something in that area.” But, he added, “I don’t have any magical insight into Apple (NSDQ: AAPL). If I did wouldn’t be sitting here.”