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Spotify launches unlimited free US service

Wait for a freebie invite. Or not

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Spotify launched its US presence on Thursday, as it said it would just last week.

The multi-million-song streaming-music service comes in three flavors: Free, Unlimited, at $4.99 per month; and Premium, at $9.99 per month. To get the freebie service, you'll need to enter your email address on the Spotify website, and wait to receive your "invitation" by email – although PCWorld has some alternative suggestions.

As might be guessed, the free service has its limitations – although, at launch time at least, the US version allows for unlimited streaming, and not the 10-hours-per-month European limit. You will, however, need to put up with advertisements, and not be able to access the service from your mobile phone.

The Unlimited service axes the ads, and Premium adds full mobile-phone access, an offline mode, "enhanced" sound quality, "exclusive" content, and a few more perks – scroll down for a comparison chart.

The Spotifiers have been kind enough to provide a brief animated advert to, ahem, trumpet their US debut:

Your move, Amazon, Google, Facebook et al. Oh, and Apple's iCloud thing and its $29.95-per-year iTunes Match is beginning to look a wee bit dated, even before it launches.

The choice is yours, of course: which would you prefer to spend, thirty bucks per year to listen to your own existing iTunes Match collection, or access to Spotify's squillions of tunes for between zero, five, or ten simoleons per month? ®

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