Spotify Licenses Universal Music In the US

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Spotify has just finalized a licensing deal with Universal Music Group in the US, according to details first shared by the Wall Street Journal.

The deal pushes Spotify closer to that magical US launch, though a tie-up with Warner Music Group remains in the balance. Earlier, Spotify sealed stateside licenses with both EMI Music and Sony Music Entertainment.

The momentum is now solidly in Spotify’s favor, though it still remains difficult to put a timetable on a Warner signature.  The label group has been mostly resistant, though more recent comments by chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr., suggest a thawing in sentiment.  Additionally, the recent sale of Warner Music to Len Blavatnik sounds like a wildcard, though the management philosophy is expected to change little after the acquisition is finalized.

And what about product positioning?  If Europe is a pricing prelude, then Spotify is likely to offer a somewhat-limited free tier, with a monthly upgrade in the $10-a-month range.  Mobile access will be a critical aspect, though the recent launch of the iCloud could impact pricing decisions.