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Spotify to bring its online music service to the U.S.

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European streaming music startup Spotify is finally about to open its service to people in the United States.

U.S. residents can now sign up on the company’s main website to receive an invitation to the online music service when it becomes available. But the company has not disclosed a specific U.S. launch date.

Spotify provides cloud-based streaming music in Europe, but will face competition from larger companies working on music streaming projects once it enters the U.S. market. Google jumped into the streaming music space with Google Music, which lets Google users upload their music to remote servers and stream it to any device for free. Apple is expected to come out with its own music streaming service after purchasing music streaming service Lala. Pandora, which offers a similar streaming-music service, recently raised $235 million in its initial public offering. In addition, Rdio, Last.fm and a number of other services provide streaming-music services in the U.S. Their growth has been helped in part by the fact that Spotify has been well-known but unavailable in this country.

Spotify offers a couple of subscription options and a free version with ads. Its unlimited subscription costs €4.99 (around $7.22) a month, and its premium service, which lets customers access music on their mobile devices, costs a €9.99 (around $14.46) a month.

Users can listen to music by searching for artists, albums, titles, record labels and genres. The service features music from most major record labels. In May, the service was only available in Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the Untied Kingdom and Denmark.

Spotify is based in Sweden and has 10 million users around the world (1 million of whom are paying subscribers). The company has raised $120 million and is valued at around $1 billion. It recently finished raising a big round of financing from Russia’s DST, the investment company that has backed Facebook, Groupon and Zynga.

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