Record label cavemen strike again

Spotify, a new internet radio service, says it is 'the way we want to consume music in the future'. That may be, but the record labels, as ever, had other ideas and have wheeled out the their outdated big guns on licensing.

Spotify was created by Swedish entrepreneurs, Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, has already attracted tens of thousands of users who spread private invitations to their friends after hearing about the site through internet chat, The Guardian reports. Based in London and Stockholm, it opened up its service in the UK after being 'bowled over' by the level of interest.

This week the company opened its doors to anyone in the UK, but was immediately forced to remove thousands of tracks in a row over licensing. This has infuriated users and the software industry, The Guardian says, which accused record and film companies of lobbying government instead of adapting to the 21st century.

Andres Sehr, wrote a blog post to say this was insisted upon by the record labels, which have strict rules about what can be played where.

'These restrictions are a legacy from when most music was sold on tapes and CDs and they have continued over into streaming music,' Sehr said, adding, 'our hope is that one day restrictions like this will disappear for good,' he was reported in The Guardian saying.

The Guardian explains that listeners choose tracks, or let the Spotify choose them. Rather than buying music, users can fill playlists with songs or create 'collaborative' playlists which have their own web address and so can be passed around and added to by others.

Users can pick from a huge catalogue of songs, listen to them for free over the internet and, like commercial radio, hear a few adverts along the way. The service has deals with top labels around Europe, and claims to be doubling in size every few weeks. Dedicated users can also choose to buy a day's worth of ad-free access for 99p, or become a premium subscriber - where there are no adverts at all - for £10 a month.

Spotify does not yet offer links to let people buy tracks, but it might soon.  For now, the co-founders are putting their own money into the company.