Beats Music and AT&T have one. Now Spotify and Sprint have one, too: As we reported earlier this month, the music service and the wireless carrier have linked up with a marketing and billing deal.
The pact, formally announced today at a Sprint event in New York City, is designed to give Sprint a way to differentiate itself from its rivals. And it’s supposed to give Spotify a chance to reach a big swath of America that doesn’t know much, or anything, about the subscription music service.
Like we told you, the Spotify/Sprint deal roughly parallels the Beats Music/AT&T deal: Sprint customers will get free trials of the service, and if they like it, they will be able to pay for it directly via their wireless bill. Some Sprint customers will also get a discount on the $9.99 a month that Spotify charges its premium subscribers.
The details: The tie-up starts May 9, and will give all Sprint subscribers a three-month free trial of Spotify’s premium service. Sprint subscribers on the carrier’s “Framily Plan” will get a six-month trial.
After that, Sprint “Framily” subscribers, who get a discount on wireless service if they sign up with friends, can pay $7.99 a month or $4.99 a month for Spotify, depending on the number of “Framily” members they have linked their accounts.
Those discounts mean that Spotify, and the music labels it works with, are willing to forgo some revenue as the service tries to reach more users.
Spotify showed up in the United States in the summer of 2011, and may have as many as 2 million American subscribers; it has more than 9 million paying subscribers worldwide. But the company’s executives acknowledge that it isn’t close to being a mainstream option.
Meanwhile Sprint, which will market Spotify as part of a campaign to highlight the audio quality of the service, announced today that it had lost 233,000 subscribers in the last quarter — a number that was better than analyst estimates.