Spotify finally launches in US: Enough to quell the masses from piracy?

Summary:Spotify is officially live for U.S. customers. But to compete, it has to appear to give more back to pirate music users than Apple's iCloud.

Finally.

Words used by Apple at the launch of the white iPhone 4. Words used by me to describe the relief that my American counterparts can now use a game-changing music streaming service, already open to so many in Europe.

Gallery Tour: Why Spotify is music to my ears

Spotify is installed on the very vast majority of student computers in the United Kingdom. From Mac's to PCs, Spotify is always on hand to thrust a party in the right direction, or make that 'special mood' a little more 'Barry White'.

Granted, an audible advert half way through a stream of his greatest hits can somewhat ruin the mood. But on the most part, Spotify has saved many from a music-less situation when filler is all but essential.

But is it enough to prevent the masses away from free, albeit illegal downloaded content?

(Image via Flickr)

Many of you will come to this column and consider piracy on a practical level. How easy is it? I can tell you that without doubt, it is far simpler and quicker than fumbling around for a debit card -- which has nothing on it because students are poor and impoverished -- and entering in a stream of details, to only be locked in by digital protection.

If you have never seen the pirate DVD versus legit DVD comparison, take a look for yourself.

Tempted to say, "good point"?

For Spotify to succeed in the U.S. -- and by succeed, to turn a generation of pirates into legitimate and legal content downloaders from authorised sites -- the cost has to be low, and the gain has to be high.

But with Apple's iCloud announcement earlier this year, the gain seems to be higher, but the wait is to be longer until later on this fall.

Does this make Spotify a temporary solution to iCloud's inevitable success?

Apple's iCloud is, without doubt, a game changer in view of their pirated content nullification wizardry.

The theory goes that one could download illegally as much music as one wants to, and by sending it to the iCloud, legitimises it. At $25 a year, distributed back into the record industry by Apple, does Spotify's payment model even stand a chance?

The very basic for-fee package Spotify offers is £4.99 a month for UK users -- which will roughly translate into around $5-10 for the pleasure of uninterrupted and unlimited streaming of music with no audible adverts.

Over time, however, Spotify users are all but forced into buying a premium package when streaming hours are raised and suddenly dropped.

Though Spotify is late to the game, competing with other already established brandsas Pandora, Rhapsody and even Napster to a degree, alignment with Facebook as a social network could rank it on par with that of Apple's iCloud.

Nevertheless, whilst Spotify is a preventative measure to Apple's hands-on 'cleaning up the mess' solution, it goes without saying that Spotify alone will have a dramatic negative impact on the music black market.

Related content:

Topics: Cloud, Apple, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Piracy, Security, Software

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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