Hey! The New York Post is reporting that Spotify is about to launch in the U.S., so it must be true!
It's not like we've heard about imminent Spotify launches in the past or anything. Oh wait -- we have. And none of them were true.
The Post leads with the news that the European freemium music streaming service is close to a deal with Sony Music Entertainment. "Days away," it says. But the reality is that Spotify has been "close" to a deal with Sony for about two months now. And even if that deal is finalized in the next week, that's still just one label.
Now, getting that first label on board is important, because most labels are hanging back, waiting to see what the other will agree to before finalizing anything with a service they consider a risky bet.
Yet Spotify needs all four to launch, or at least to launch well. And while the Post story says that the company has "gained the support" of one other label other than Sony, it's probably not Universal Music Group or Warner Music Group … both of which have voiced reservations about the service.
Last July, Billboard reported that Spotify had rebooted its negotiations with the U.S. labels in hopes of salvaging a 2010 launch. That, of course, didn't happen.
The will-they-or-won't-they waiting game will continue until we finally see a live Spotify service here in the U.S. That day will come, and probably this year. But the larger question is what Spotify will look like here. It's very unlikely that it will be a clone of the European service, which offers an unlimited free tier supported by advertising with various premium options to skip ads or to access via mobile devices.
Exactly how much free service Spotify can offer is what's holding up negotiations here. Each label has a different preference that can't be easily reconciled. And while Spotify fans tend to blame the labels for being difficult, Spotify itself is not without blame. Our sources say the company keeps coming back with different proposals.
To its credit, Spotify -- for a change -- is not commenting about a timeline.
"Negotiations are progressing well, but [we have] nothing to confirm at this stage," a spokesman told the Post.