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Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Spotify Signs On EMI for U.S. Launch. At Least One More to Go…

It’s getting closer: Spotify has finalized a U.S. distribution deal with EMI Music, multiple sources tell me.

Both EMI and Spotify declined to comment.

Coupled with last month’s Sony deal, Spotify now has the approval from two of the four major music labels for an American launch. But that still doesn’t guarantee you’ll see the streaming music subscription service in America anytime soon.

In order to make a credible offer to U.S. users, Spotify will need to at least get Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest label, on board, and it’s not there yet.

It would also be nice if Spotify could land Warner Music Group, which now seems more doable than in the past, given Warner CEO Edgar Bronfman’s increasingly positive comments about the company.

If and/or when Spotify does come to the U.S., it will also have to contend with new rules from Apple, which will require a 30 percent cut of any subscriptions the service sells through Apple’s iTunes platform. That tariff is going to be a significant problem for many of Spotify’s peers, who are working on slim margins to begin with; I don’t know how Spotify plans to address this one.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work