Spotify to launch in the US today

After a long, long wait, European music streaming service Spotify is finally launching in the US today.

“Spotify is coming to the US,” it says. “The award-winning music service that’s taken Europe by storm will soon be landing on US shores. Millions of tracks ready to play instantly, on your computer and your phone.”

Spotify works on platforms including the iPhone, Android, Symbian and Windows Phone. The company’s setting the price at $4.99 a month on a PC, or $9.99 on mobile – cheaper than Napster or Rhapsody. There’s also an ad-based, free version, which may be limited to just six months.

As per bloody usual, the US dollar figure is the same as the amount in pounds, meaning Americans are getting it about a third cheaper.

The nearest existing US equivalent to the free, on-demand service is probably Rdio. It currently has around a million paying customers in Europe, with many more using the free, ad-supported version.

There’s no word on exactly how many tracks will be on offer in the US – the company’s had some difficulty reaching agreement with rights holders – but it’s likely to be the majority of the 15 million-odd tracks currently available in Europe.

With the pay-for version, there’s an offline mode. “You decide which playlists you’d like to make sacred, and Spotify will sync the tracks to your computer or phone,” says the company.

“This means your favourite playlists will always be there for you, whether you’ve got access to the internet or not.”

The free service will be invitation-only to start with, but people can beg for an invite here.