Spotify Inks Universal Music Deal, Really Close Now To U.S. Launch

There may soon be even more competition in the cloud music streaming arena as Spotify has just signed on Universal Music Group, bringing it one more label closer to a U.S. launch. Spotify has already signed EMI and Sony Music, leaving now just Warner Music to coaxed on board. The service has been incredibly popular in Europe with an almost cult following, but it's uncertain if that will translate to success across the Atlantic.

Spotify offers an "Open" free music streaming service with two tiers of paid "Unlimited" and "Premium" options. The free level of service gives you access to millions of songs but hits you with advertising. Stepping up to Unlimited and Premium subscriptions obviously eliminates advertising and then adds on additional features. Monthly subscription fees are expected to be around $10.

However, there are already similar music streaming services in the U.S. such as Rdio and Slacker, although they have only modest followings. Add to that Apple's iTunes with iCloud service readying to launch this fall and Amazon's Cloud Player and Google's Music Beta already out, it will be a tough road ahead.

It ultimately depends on which method of music streaming consumers prefer. Would you rather purchase and own music song-by-song and then stream them, or would you rather pay a monthly fee to access an unlimited number of songs from a massive music library?

[via Electronista]