How hard is it for a Swedish streaming-music company to gain a foothold in the USA?
Harder than you might think. Spotify has been working diligently to line up music-usage deals to launch its free music service in America, but has been hitting speed bumps set up, not by similar services like Pandora or Slacker, but by Apple itself.
According to a CNET report, the House of Jobs warned its music-industry counterparts that Spotify's free service would underline the current digital-music business (read: iTunes), claiming that users wouldn't pay for something they could get for free. (Umm…can you say "torrents?") Mind you, there's some logic to Apple's arguement: according to Nielsen, digital music sales have flattened out recently, and many of the labels Spotify's been trying to work with — unconvinced that the ad-supported music market actually works — are demanding huge up-front fees.
So far, Spotify has missed several announced debut dates, hasn't signed a single major-label deal, and is staring into an abyss which has already swallowed the likes of Imeem, SpiralFrog, and even MySpace Music.