Peter Kafka reports for The Wall Street Journal’s All Things D blog that online music service Spotify will formally launch in the United States next week. The company itself confirmed yesterday that it would kick off its American operation “soon” and has begun issuing invites. Kafka explains:

My informed guess: Next week. Because that’s what Spotify reps have been telling U.S. label executives. Or maybe later! Spotify is Spotify, so anyone who has paid any attention to this story will be reflexively skeptical that Spotify will show up in the U.S. until Spotify shows up in the U.S. Meanwhile, Spotify PR reps decline to comment.

Spotify has signed agreements in its pockets with three of the four major record labels. Ongoing negotiations with Warner Music Groups should be finalized before the launch, the author notes. If Spotify’s European prices are an indication, Americans can expect to pay up to ten bucks a month for unlimited streaming of high-fidelity, ad-free music from Spotify’s online catalog encompassing ten million songs.

This means $120 buys you the ultimate digital locker for one full year which comes preloaded with ten million songs ready for streaming to your Mac or PC desktop, in addition to iOS and Android phones. True, iTunes Match will cost a fraction ($25 a year) of Spotify’s annual fee, but Apple’s service comes with a huge deal-killer: It doesn’t stream songs so you can only download individual music tracks to your devices. Plus, the iTunes Match locker holds up to 20,000 tracks (versus unlimited for Spotify) and it does not support resolutions greater than 256Kbps AAC (320Kbps MP3 with Spotify).

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