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Report: Spotify Inks U.S. Deal with World's Largest Record Label

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Spotify has reportedly made a deal with Universal Music Group, the behemoth among record labels, to distribute its music online in the United States.

As such, we could be ever so slightly closer to the service launching here, after years of waiting -- and after Spotify has curtailed the "free" part of its "freemium" service to make it more palatable to copyright holders and ease royalty requirements.

If this AllThingsD report is on the money -- and its author Peter Kafka says he has multiple sources saying that it is -- then the main obstacle between Spotify and the United States is now Warner Music Group, which famously resists the notion of free, ad-supported music, possibly as a result of having been burned by its investment in the now-shuttered free music service Imeem.

"Free streaming services are clearly not net positive for the industry, and as far as Warner Music is concerned will not be licensed," said Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman, Jr. last year.

But what about a version of Spotify that limits listeners to 10 hours of music per month (after a six-month honeymoon period) and only lets them play each song five times before they pay?

And what if it integrated with Facebook so that friends could listen together at the same time and infect each other with monetizable love for a particular band?

And what if Spotify embraced music download stores?

And what if Apple, the world's biggest music retailer, had already announced iCloud, possibly paving the way for a Spotify launch?

We shall see.

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