Sweden-based streaming service Spotify has opened access to the U.K. public after operating on an invite-only basis since its launch in October.

Users in the U.K. can now register for the ad-supported site for free while the premium, ad-free service is still available for a daily or monthly subscription fee. In a statement, Spotify said it hopes to "do the same in other countries in the future."

Last month, the service was forced to remove songs from its catalog and restrict access to tracks in certain countries, after some music had been distributed to Spotify without the permission of the artist (Billboard.biz, Jan. 29). A company spokeswoman estimated the removals would not affect more than 10,000 tracks.

Although it could not give an exact figure due to varying licensing deals across territories, Spotify now claims to have "millions" of tracks available and is adding on average 10,000 new tracks per day.

Last week, a deal with independent music distributor CD Baby added a further million tracks to the Spotify catalog.

Spotify launched in October 2008 with the support of all four major labels and a host of independents. Restricted access sites are currently available in Sweden, Norway, Finland, France and Spain.