Spotify signs Universal Music, may get to U.S. after all


Spotify has signed an American distribution deal with Universal Music Group, the world's largest music label. The pact means that the streaming music company now has U.S. deals in place with three of the four largest labels, making it likely that the company will finally be able move across the Atlantic this summer.

The service still doesn't have a pact signed with Warner Music Group, but people familiar with discussions say the two sides are closer than they have been in the past, and are optimistic a deal will get done. It's possible that Spotify could … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 1472: The Internet and the end of snow days (Podcast)

On today's show, Eric Schmidt appears to spout off wildly about fighting anti-piracy laws to the death, but frankly, we kind of agree. Also, LinkedIn's IPO goes bonkers, Apple is close to signing all the necessary music labels to its hoped-for Amazon and Google killer, Kindle e-books outsell all print books on Amazon, and it turns out that Apple love really is a religion. So much so that its devotees literally refuse to believe there could be malware on their Macs. Guys, it's happening. Believe. --Molly

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Exclusive: Apple near cloud-music deals

Apple has signed a cloud-music licensing agreement with EMI Music and is very near to completing deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, multiple music industry sources told CNET.

Warner Music Group already had a deal in place with Apple, CNET reported last month. The licensing agreements will enable Apple to launch a fully licensed cloud-music service to rival unlicensed offerings of rivals Amazon and Google.

The negotiations with Sony Music Group and Universal Music Group could be wrapped up as early as next week, the sources said. What this means is that signed contracts with all four … Read more

Spotify signs on EMI for U.S. launch


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 … Read more

Spotify wouldn't offer as much free music here

Spotify has struck its first licensing agreement with one of the four largest record companies and is closing in on a second deal, but what is it costing the European music service to open up shop in the United States?

The answer is plenty. The impasse that has prevented Spotify from acquiring U.S. music rights for more than a year has forced the streaming service to make significant concessions to the record labels, multiple music industry sources told CNET on Monday.

Not only has Spotify sweetened its financial offer to the top labels, but the streaming-music service has agreed … Read more

More consolidation among major music labels?

Warner Music Group is reportedly entertaining acquisition offers even as the third-largest record company continues to pursue its own acquisition of troubled rival label EMI.

The New York Times reported that after being approached by buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Warner Music hired Goldman Sachs to seek out buyers. Instead of selling to KKR, Warner's management wanted to see what kind of price it could get on the open market.

Warner Music is home to such artists as Green Day, Faith Hill, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. According to the Times' story, Warner's private-equity investors want Warner … Read more

Key for Spotify in the U.S. is Universal Music

For over 18 months, Spotify has hyped the coming of a U.S. service. It now appears that one of Europe's most important digital entertainment companies has a toehold in the United States.

Music industry sources have confirmed that Spotify has struck a licensing agreement with Sony Music Entertainment, the second largest of the top-four record companies and the home of such acts as Alicia Keys, the Foo Fighters, and John Mayer. The terms of the deal weren't available.

In October, CNET reported that Spotify, which offers ad-supported music free in addition to paid subscriptions, had moved closer … Read more

Apple's tough iTunes note meant for indie labels

Apple's letter to music labels about the company's adoption of 90-second song samples sounded brash and uncompromising, reminiscent of how the company once seemed to negotiate with the music industry.

Apple wrote in e-mails to an undisclosed number of music industry executives--made public on Tuesday--that it would soon offer longer samples for songs that are at least two-and-a-half minutes in length. For shorter songs, iTunes would continue to offer 30-second previews, the company wrote. CNET broke the news in August that Apple planned to offer longer samples.

What raised eyebrows about Apple's note was that … Read more

MP3tunes: iTunes will benefit if we win copyright case

Michael Robertson, a well-known technology entrepreneur, has tweaked the music industry for years. But in his latest copyright fight with EMI Music, the founder of MP3tunes.com could be betting all the marbles.

"EMI is suing me personally," Robertson said today. "My personal assets are on the line."

EMI, the smallest of the four top record companies, accused Robertson and MP3tunes.com of copyright infringement three years ago. Robertson filed for summary judgment on Friday, and that means the case is nearing an end. The judge still needs to hear from EMI and then allow both … Read more

Grooveshark VIP price increase planned

One of my favorite online streaming services, Grooveshark, has begun notifying registered users that it's going to raise the price of its VIP subscription service beginning December 1. But if you sign up for VIP service before then, you'll never pay more than $3 a month or $30 a year.

Grooveshark's online music streaming service is and will remain free. The main benefit of the VIP service is support for streaming to mobile phones, including Android, BlackBerry, some Nokia phones, and Palm; you also get access to a desktop app and other benefits. The company briefly offered … Read more