This morning the European-based online streaming service Spotify became available in America, and, man, everyone seems really excited about it except for maybe Steve Jobs. Rightfully so, too: The service has dominated its European markets and offers millions of songs to stream — the video introduction above claims "any artist, any album, any genre" — with artist royalties paid for by the site's advertisers (read: it's free to use). TIME magazine has called it "the holy grail of online music;" WIRED says, "Those who have tried Spotify know it's like a magical version of iTunes in which you've already bought every song in the world;" and Mark Zuckerberg is quoted with, "Spotify is so good." Thanks for that, Mark.
As of now, the launch is limited to those who purchase an "unlimited" or "premium" account, which will set you back $4.99 or $9.99 a month, respectively, for unlimited streaming with no advertisements. For those wiling to pony up for a premium subscription, you'll have the ability to use it on a mobile device, even in offline mode, exclusive content, and higher bit rates. For the rest of us cheapos, Spotify's free service (available by invite only, of course) allows up to 20 hours of streaming per month for your first six months before dropping to 10 hours per month and five plays per song. The website isn't exactly crystal clear in delineating the differences between the three tiers of services, but there's a handy chart at the bottom of this page that illustrates what gets what. If you opt for the freebie version, you can sign up for an invitation here; the Spotify folks say they'll be doling them out over the next few weeks. Now who's ready to check out some of this "indie rock" stuff we've been hearing so much about?!