Apple spoke with Facebook for eighteen months prior to Ping launch. Alas, no deal was made as the social networking behemoth reportedly demanded “onerous” terms. Be that as it may, Facebook Connect was pulled from the iTunes Ping service last minute. Fast-forward to last week, when the streaming music service Spotify opened to everyone in the United States, no invitation required. Surprisingly enough, Spotify is now a Facebook-only affair. A disclaimer on the new account creation page reads:

You need a Facebook account to register for Spotify. If you have an account, just log in below to register. If you don’t have a Facebook account, get one by clicking the “create an account” link below.

This unusual move by Spotify leaves folks without a Facebook account pretty much in the dark. The Next Web has more clarification, including an alleged response from a Spotify employee advising a disgruntled customer to create a private Facebook account for streaming purposes, pictured after the break. Is it just us or does this sound a bit anti-competitive?

Call us naive, but it’s unusual for third-party services to rely exclusively on Facebook Connect. Even if such a practice ties with the deals Facebook cut with music, Hollywood and rental industries, it is absolutely hard to escape the notion that big media handed over its keys and lock to Facebook. That, or at least Spotify signed their whole user database over to Facebook. There are some good news, however. Spotify announced today in a blog post that all users now get to stream ad-supported music on an unlimited basis and free of charge for six full months. After your free listening window expires, you can still stream up to ten hours worth of music per month for free with a five-play limit for any individual track. The time limit and advertisements get removed if you upgrade to a paid account for ten bucks a month, which also buys you a higher-quality 320Kbps stream.

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