Daniel Ek, founder and CEO of music streaming platform Spotify, has said that he is confident that the service will launch in the U.S. in the first half of 2010.

Speaking at U.K. industry confab the Media Festival, where he was interviewed by media consultant and festival chairman Peter Bazalgette, Ek brushed aside criticism from certain sectors of the American music industry concerning the proposed U.S. launch of Spotify. He responded with a definitive "yes" when asked if the breakthrough would happen within the next six months.

"My goal ultimately when we look at our company and we look at what we want to do, we're not interested in being a niche company," Ek went onto say. "We're not interested in being another advertising company that does $10 million or $20 million dollars a year, or $100 million. What we want to get to is the place where we have 100 million users and there's tens of millions of those that are paid users, paying each month... That's the end goal that we want to get to and we do think that we can get there."

Later in the keynote session, Bazalgette asked Ek if Spotify could convince sceptics in the U.S. music industry that the service was capable of converting enough users from free to paid subscription holders to become economically viable.

"Essentially it's the same challenge that everybody has," he responded. "If you purely look at the economics that an ad supported model has alone - it doesn't work for the music industry."

"Subscription doesn't work on its own because that's been proven for 10 years as well," Ek continued. "But the combination of an ad pricing model and a subscription model does. So far, in terms of Spotify, we haven't actually spent any money at all on marketing. But what we have done is that we have taken a lot of people in using the free service, they start using the free service and they find attractive options such as becoming a paid user because they wanted to have [the service] on their mobile phone or they wanted to have higher volume quality... and they've done so now at the scale where we can say that we're the biggest subscription service in Europe."

The Spotify CEO also outlined plans for the service to introduce greater social networking tools, stating that in future the service will "become a lot better at managing music."

"One of the things that will happen as we move forward is that we'll try and open up the platform of Spotify, which will allow other people to more easily share music and recommend music," Ek went onto say, citing Last.FM or Pandora as potential platforms to power the social networking tools.

Now in its second year, the Media Festival brings together executives and delegates from the U.K. TV, film, music, radio, audio, advertising, gaming, newspaper and digital industries and takes place at Manchester's Palace Hotel, Nov. 18-20.

Also talking at the opening day was Tim Davie, director of BBC audio and music, who formally launched the U.K. Radio Player - an online desktop platform that combines broadcasting from publicly-funded BBC stations and programming and the U.K. commercial radio sector (Billboard.biz Nov. 19).

Introducing a video demonstration of the pop-up console, which launches early next year, Davie said that the platform "will not be primarily centred around an aggregating Web site but a consistent console playing radio from participating company Web sites with some common functionality and consistency in look and feel."

He continued, "Users will be benefit from search facility that allows people to access content from across all participating station schedules."

"My vision is that the BBC can deliver more innovating online applications for audio ensuring that it remains utterly linked into future platforms, offering audiences access to more content and commercial radio the opportunity to hack into a broader revenue base," Davie went onto to say.

The Media Festival wraps today (Nov. 20) with talks from Kevin Lygo, director of content and television at U.K. commercial network Channel 4, and Patrick Walker, YouTube director of content partnerships EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa).