Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Today! Spotify Comes To America, Finally.

OK, OK. Spotify’s in America.

For some of you. The streaming music service, which has been trying to get to the U.S. for a couple long, grinding years, has finally done it.

All four big music labels are on board, including holdout Warner Music Group, and the service will officially open its doors tomorrow.

For now it’s invitation only, but it will open up over the coming weeks and months.

The basics: As in Europe, Spotify offers a couple different tiers of service. There’s a free, ad-supported service that lets you listen to whatever you want, as long as you’re on a computer that’s connected to the Web, and as long you don’t exceed a monthly time limit. For now, that’s 20 hours a month.

Spotify’s real goal is to get you to upgrade to its $10-a-month plan, which gives you unlimited, ad-free music, which you can also take with you via iPhone and Android apps. There’s also a $5-a-month middle step, which gives you ad-free music that’s not portable, but the Spotify guys don’t really expect much take-up there.

So go check it out, if you can.

And if you can’t, you’ve still got plenty of options. As I’ve noted many times before, Americans already have access to lots of subscription music services, like MOG, Rhapsody and Rdio. The big difference between those options and Spotify is they only offer a few days of free music before requiring you to pay up.

And of course, if you don’t want to pay at all, there’s plenty of other options, from legal services like Pandora, to grey-area services like Grooveshark and Turntable.fm, and the full-fledged piracy options which are easy enough for all of you to figure out on your own.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus