New music streaming service Spotify launched today in Europe with the support of all four major labels, as well as independent rights body Merlin and independent digital music distributor The Orchard.

The service is available in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Finland, Norway and Sweden. It plans to roll out in further territories through the remainder of 2008 and into 2009.

Merlin has expressed its frustration at what it claims is a lack of involvement with the independent music sector in high-profile launches by the likes of Nokia Comes With Music (launching in the U.K. Oct. 16) and MySpace Music. However, Merlin CEO Charles Caldas claims to be "genuinely excited" at the business opportunities presented by the service.

In a statement, Caldas said: "We are equally pleased that Spotify quickly recognized the true value that Merlin has brought to the market and has worked hard with us to ensure that the independent labels that constitute our membership are available to their users from day one," he continued in a statement.

Consumers can choose between a premium, monthly subscription service or a free, ad-supported service. On top of unlimited access to millions of tracks, Spotify lets users create and share playlists, and explore music through a variety of discovery and social features. A "day pass" can also be purchased, giving users advertisement-free access to the service.

Ford, T-Mobile and Xbox have already been confirmed as advertisers.

"We believe that everyone loves music, and we're thrilled to partner with all major content owners already at launch," said Spotify founder and CEO, Daniel Ek in a statement.