After more literally years of build up, Swedish freemium music service Spotify finally opened its virtual doors in the U.S. today with three tiers of use, 15 million-plus tracks including music from all four majors, and seven sponsors (among them, News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). iPad tabloid The Daily). The invites for six months of free unlimited desktop access are going out and the subscription store is taking dollars for two plans: $4.99 for ad-free plus offline listening and $9.99 for the whole shebang, including mobile on three devices. Next step: living up to the hype.
One important bit of housekeeping: Spotify claims to have a global catalog of more than 15 million tracks now. Yesterday, I couldn’t get Spotify past the generic “global catalog” on that. Here’s the response today: “Different songs are available in different markets. This is a result of complex international rights licensing issues. Most of the Spotify catalog is available in all markets. Whatever differences exist are an artifact of rightsholders not having rights to the same content everywhere.”