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Spotify removes 'invitation only' restriction

Free internet radio catalogue greatly reduced

Swedish internet radio service Spotify has removed a restriction in the UK that only allows web users who have been 'invited' to listen to the service.

Now anyone in the UK can take advantage of the site's open registration. "Starting today people in the UK will no longer need an invitation to join Spotify. You can register for our free service directly from our website," said the music service in a blog.

Once users have signed up to Spotify, users can create a playlist of songs they want to hear from Spotify's catalogue. They can also create 'collaborative' playlists, which are assigned their own web addresses, and can then be added to by other Spotify listeners. The tracks are broadcast in a style similar to commercial radio, in that they are peppered with adverts.

However, for 99p, Spotify users can purchase a whole day of ad-free listening time, or alternatively pay a £10 monthly subscription and never hear an advert again.

The move comes just a week after Spotify was forced to remove thousands of tracks from its catalogue, which global community manager, Andres Sehr, said was down to record label rules about where tracks can be played.

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"We are going to be removing a number of songs from our catalogue and adding country restrictions to some tracks, which may make them unplayable for you," said Sehr in a blog.

"The reason for this is that our agreements contain strict rules as to what tracks can and can't be played in various countries that we are now capable of implementing. These restrictions are a legacy from when most music was sold on tapes and CDs and they have continued over into streaming music, our hope is that one day restrictions like this will disappear for good."

Spotify users can't currently keep the tracks they listen to, nor can they purchase them yet. However, they can listen to them as many times as they like. Spotify hopes that those that listen to the tracks on their PCs will be deterred from illegally downloading the songs. The company is also planning to make the service available to those using mobile phones, car stereos and even digital music players in the future.

See also: Napster suggests music to suit your mood

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