Spotify, the Swedish music streaming service used by 10 million people across Europe, is close to landing a deal to license EMI Group's songs for use in the U.S., according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
EMI, which publishes such acts as Kanye West, Pink Floyd and Garth Brooks, would be the second major label, after Sony Music Entertainment, to sign on to Spotify's plans to introduce its popular music service to the U.S. That leaves Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group as the two big holdouts.
It's unclear whether Spotify would have enough songs to launch a service in the U.S. without Universal or Warner. EMI had 10% of the U.S. music market in 2010, while Sony accounted for 28% of the market last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Spotify's free, ad-supported streaming service lets listeners dial up millions of songs on demand and has been wildly popular in the seven countries in which it operates in Europe. But only 7.5% of its 10 million users pay money for Spotify's premium service, which costs 10 pounds a month in the U.K. and 10 euros elsewhere.
Should Spotify debut in the U.S., it would face competition from Napster, Rhapsody, MOG, Rdio, eMusic and Thumbplay. It would also meet with resistance from U.S. consumers, who have been reluctant to pay a monthly fee -- even for unlimited access to millions of songs.
You can read more about the deal with EMI and Spotify on The Times' sister blog Company Town.
-- Alex Pham
Photo: Kanye West is among the artists represented on the EMI label. Credit: Nousha Salimi / Associated Press.