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by Evette Brown

Get a new pair of headphones and prepare for the newest European craze to sweep the United States since Amy Winehouse and Adele.

A program that combines the greatest features of iTunes and Rhapsody arrived across the Atlantic.  It is already capturing the attention of music lovers in all 50 states and might be the start of a free music revolution – even after the release of Pandora. With the support of all the major music companies, Spotify, was released in the U.S. and is gradually building the potential to surpass the competition.

With Spotify, users have access to a collection of more than 15 million songs with excellent sound quality; playlists from all Facebook friends and Twitter followers; websites dedicated to Spotify users where sharing, rating, and recommending takes place; a mobile application that allows users to access their playlists online; and most importantly, the service is free of charge. Completely.

Unlike iTunes that requires nearly $1.00 per song or Napster that takes out a set amount from your checking account each month, Spotify is offered free-of-charge to all those that participate in the service.

Of course, nothing in life is perfect, so there are a few catches in this immaculate vision of music downloading heaven.  Like Google Plus, an invitation is required to join Spotify.  You can request an invitation on the website, or receive an invite from corporate sponsors like Reebox and Motorola.

Let’s throw another wrench into the equation.  For each hour of notes, bass, and vocals from our favorite entertainers, there are two minutes of advertisements split up between different songs.  You can rely on banner ads to pop up.  Oh, and after six months, unlimited music will be restricted to 10 hours of free music each month.

Maybe free music isn’t as appealing as it seems, but you can avoid the hassle.  26 percent of European users decided to bypass the obstacles and pay $5 each month for an immediate invite, with no ads or limits to how much music can be played.  Some paid $10 each month for all-of-the-above plus downloads.  For $10, of course there are additional perks.  You can download music for three computers without internet connection at a higher quality than the normal subscription and you don’t have to purchase individual songs. You get as much as you please…but as with the others, once the subscription is over, the music disappears back to the library that it was downloaded from.

If European users are any indication of how Americans will react to Spotify, most will stick to the free service and it will become the most popular music service available.

So, get ready for a music revolution. Free of charge.

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