Spotify Launched in Germany Without Key Licensing Deal
Spotify, the popular streaming music service, launched in Germany today. The company had been planning this launch for a while and had already been operating a German-language version in Austria since last year. Quite a few pundits assumed that the delay was due to rights negotiations with the German royalty collection agency GEMA. This organization is quite notorious for charging relatively high rates for music streaming, which was the main reason Grooveshark closed its German site earlier this year. The reality is a bit different, though: Spotify still hasn't signed a licensing deal with GEMA.
Talking to German public radio, Spotify acknowledged that the company is still negotiating with GEMA. As of now, the two haven't been able to reach an agreement, though the negotiations, which Spotify describes as "intense," continue.
GEMA, it is worth noting, has been negotiating with Google to set streaming rates for YouTube for years now. It's not unthinkable that its discussions with Spotify could also take quite a while. Just last year, Sony Music CEO Edgar Berger argued that "some members of GEMA's supervisory board have not yet arrived in the digital era."