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Majors play hard to get with Spotify

COLD SHOULDER: Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has spent more than a year trying to nail down licensing deals with the Big Four in an effort to launch a U.S. service before the end of the year, and what does he have to show for it? Zilch, music biz sources told CNET News.com. Nonetheless, the company remains optimistic. "We are in fact in a good place with our label negotiations," said spokesman Jim Butcher. “We're confident in our U.S. launch later this year.” The sources told CNET that Spotify and the labels can’t agree on "some basic financial questions," and that the labels are skeptical of Spotify's ability to convert consumers using its free, ad-supported plan to its paid subscription service. Spotify currently counts around 500k premuim subscribers, and 10 million total users (see 9/16 item). But U.S. labels have shown little enthusiasm of late for ad-supported free music services—the primary reason that outfits like imeem, SpiralFrog and Ruckus never got off the ground. (9/17a)

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