Spotify reportedly launching free streaming music service overseas

Online music provider Spotify could be expanding its mobile horizons next month, as it takes music streaming to mobile devices outside the United States.

It’s something of a full-circle move for Spotify, which launched its streaming service in Europe first before arriving in the US in 2011. Now the company is expanding its service to mobile device in Europe to match its US offerings, according to Bloomberg.

If the proposed service meets the approval of the major music labels, Spotify would gain a competitive advantage over arch-rival Pandora, whose streaming mobile music service is limited to the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.

The move would also catch Pandora at a vulnerable time. Its CEO, Joe Kennedy, announced last week that he was departing from the company, even though it ended 2012 with winning fourth quarter as both revenues and subscriptions rose. But increases in royalty rates paid for streaming music forced Pandora to re-impose the 40-hour monthly limit on its free mobile offering. There’s no limit to its free desktop streaming service.

Spotify’s new mobile streaming service would be delivered to the 20 countries where its current desktop service is provided, which include the U.K., Sweden, Germany, France, and Australia.

In addition to expanding its music offerings outside the United States, Spotify recently expanded them inside the country, too. Last month, Ford announced that Spotify would deliver streaming music to the car builder’s vehicles equipped with its SYNC Applink system. However, only Spotify users with paid subscriptions will be able to take advantage of that perk.

Spotify’s reported expansion comes at a time when its business model is expected to come under attack in the coming months.

Google, Apple, and Beats Electronics all have some kind of subscription service in the works, according to Bloomberg.

Google, which already offers music services through Google Play Music, is said to be planning a subscription service through YouTube later this year.

All these various music models appear to have had a favorable impact on the music industry. For the first time since 1999, music sales actually showed a year-over-year increase—albeit a small one of 0.3 percent—to $16.5 billion.

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