spotifyThere has been happening around Spotify, a Swedish startup offering a lightweight software application enabling on demand streaming of music. And it’s not been the normal buzz where everybody is competing to give praise to the service.

First there was the announcement that Spotify is hiring Gustav Söderström, who’s Leaving Yahoo! Inc. to be the director of portable solutions at Spotify . ‘I came to Yahoo! Inc in 2006 through the acquisition of Mobile social software company Kenet Works AB of which I was CEO and co-founder (learn more about me). After two years as Director of Product Management and later Director of Business Development, I’ve decided to leave Yahoo! Inc in order to join music startup Spotify.’ (thanks for the heads up to Henrik!)

Today Spotify announced on a more down beat tone that they are forced to add a country restriction to some songs and remove some songs completely from their playlists. Why? Not surprisingly this required by their label deals.

Despite the small set back, the Spotify team added that their ‘dream is to create a music experience where users can play whatever music they want, whenever they want, it may take awhile but we will keep working at it’. Now that Söderström is on board to lead Spotify’s mobile strategy, they are likely to tackle next the ‘create a music experience … whenever’ the users want it -part. We, for one, can’t wait to see what Spotify on a mobile will look like.

You can find the full announcement below (you should also go read the original annoucement as last time I checked they had no less the 199 comments!) and our previous post on Spotify challenging iTunes here.

Next week we are going to be making some changes to our music catalogue that we feel are important to communicate clearly. Unfortunately 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.

Why are we doing this?

The changes are being made so that we implement all the proper restrictions that are required by our label deals. Some tracks will be restricted from play in certain countries, this means that if you share tracks with friends who are in other countries it’s possible that they won’t be able to listen to them. 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.

Additionally, some of the music that has been delivered to us had been delivered by mistake even though the artist did not want their music to be included in a streaming service. In order to respect the decisions of the artist we now have to remove those tracks. We have not lost any licenses and no labels have stopped working with us, this is just a matter of updating our catalogue to be in line with the agreements we actually have. In hindsight it would have been better to remove this in October when we launched publicly, we realize this now and apologize to you for not doing it sooner.

How will this affect you?

A number of the tracks that you’ve listened to previously will no longer be available for streaming, these tracks have already been removed from the search function. If you have some of these songs in playlists we will try to automatically replace those songs with versions from albums that we are not removing so you don’t lose the song. If there is no replacement available then the song will appear in red on your playlists.

What’s next?

From this point on there are no plans to remove any more music and our catalogue will only grow from here. We already have music from all the major labels and a vast majority of the independent labels licensed, between them we have millions of tracks that we still can add into Spotify. Now it’s a matter of importing that music into our system, which we are doing on an ongoing basis in an effort to add thousands of albums a week. We continue to work hard to sign deals with more labels and will work with the labels we have signed to fill the holes in our catalogue.

Our dream is to create a music experience where users can play whatever music they want, whenever they want, it may take awhile but we will keep working at it. Please feel free to leave any questions you may have on the blog or join the conversation on our forum if you require more information.