The long wait is over—Spotify has officially landed in the U.S. to bring its much-coveted music streaming service to us deprived, uncultured Americans. As you may or may not know, Spotify is different from other music-streaming services in that it’s on demand—you can actually search for a song and play it instantly, as you would straight from your iTunes library. And the service is completely free…in theory. As part of Spotify’s U.S. launch, the free service is currently invite-only, which means you can either get in line and wait like every other schmuck, or you can sign up for the paid “Unlimited” or “Premium” services. But in an interesting move, Spotify has partnered with Klout to allow the top “influencers” in social media get free invites first.
The promotion is part of Klout Perks—a program that rewards the social media users with free products and services. In essence, the program is designed to allow companies and brands to generate comprehensive and cost-effective social media buzz by going straight to the source: social media users. Those who are registered with Klout get things like exclusive access to new products and experiences before everyone else, so they can tell their friends about it.
Klout has 100,000 invites to give out to anyone registered with Klout. You simply sign up and then go here to get your free invite. And those who sign up get an added perk of having their Spotify account upgraded to Premium if you get five of your friends to sign up for Klout. Previous Klout Perks have included free tickets on Virgin America, a laptop from Hewlett Packard, and a weekend in a Audi A8, among others.
“Spotify is one of the most hotly-anticipated launches in America this year,” wrote Klout CEO Joe Hernandez in a blog post. “We have been lucky enough to get a sneak preview at Klout HQ. Spotify has completely changed the way we think about music, and the way we share our favorite tunes with our friends.”
If you choose to skip the appetizer and go straight to the main course, you can sign up for Spotify Unlimited now for $4.99 a month, or Spotify Premium for $9.99 a month. Seems pricey, I know, but Spotify Premium actually lets you sync your Spotify playlists to your phone or computer so that you can listen offline. And the Unlimited service is ad-free and…unlimited. By comparison, the free service only gives you ten free listening hours a month, plus ads.
“We believe that music is the most social thing there is and that’s why we’ve built the best social features into Spotify for easy sharing and the ultimate in music discovery,” wrote Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek in a blog post. “Even if you aren’t a total music freak, chances are you have a friend who is and whose taste you admire. I’m looking forward to connecting with some of you guys in the US through Spotify and discovering some cool new tracks.”
And Spotify has more surprises in store. The company’s other launch partners include Coca-Cola, Sprite, Chevrolet, Motorola, Reebok, Sonos, and The Daily.