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Online music platform Spotify hits Germany

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Online music platform Spotify hits Germany
Photo: DPA
11:50 CET+01:00
The long-awaited launch of online music streaming service Spotify in Germany arrived on Tuesday – positive news for the country's music lovers, who can now enjoy 16 million tracks for free.

Germany is the thirteenth country to allow the Swedish start-up through its firewall since it began in 2008, but not without a struggle.

Heated discussions with state copyright authorities, which have a notoriously fierce stronghold over online streaming services, had previously hindered the company's German launch.

While company founder Daniel Ek says Spotify is in a “good position” to enter the German market, music royalties organisation GEMA is yet to give its blessing to Spotify.

“We are locked in intensive discussions with Spotify that are yet to be concluded,” said a GEMA spokesperson.

The organisation blocked German users from accessing Grooveshark, a similar programme to Spotify, earlier in 2012.

A Spotify spokesperson told The Local, “We don't comment at all on our commercial relationships. All we can say is that all of the stakeholders we have spoken to in Germany have been extremely supportive of Spotify.”

With 10 million registered users worldwide, Spotify is hoping “German music fans will embrace Spotify” and crack the country's music market - the third biggest globally.

It has been successful in negotiating deals with other country's copyright authorities, having paid over €200 million in licensing fees since 2008.

The service, which started as a cult hit, grew into a phenomenon in the 13 countries it is available – including France, the UK and Sweden, and is currently the second biggest online music platform in the world.

The German Federal Association of Music Industry (BVMI) welcomed Spotfy's arrival in Germany, as it had “already changed musical history” elsewhere.

Users can choose between a free membership, which limits the amount of times a song can be played, or opt for paid access to the service.

A €4.99 membership will get a user unlimited access to songs whilst online, and enable them to use Spotify abroad, while €9,99 grants mobile and offline usage as well. According to the company, there are around three million paying users.

Spotify told The Local that numbers on the launch day “have exceeded our expectations in both the response to the free service as well as subscriptions.” Many of these subscribers had been on a waiting list for months.

DPA/The Local/jcw

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