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Spotify unveils expansion plans

LONDON - Spotify, the online music streaming service that enables users to listen to tracks for free in return for listening to ads, is embarking on expansion plans that include selling data and making the service available on mobile phones including Apple's iPhone.

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According to reports, Spotify is considering selling data it holds on subscribers' listening habits to record labels, so they can target consumers with relevant promotions.

Daniel Ek, the company's founder, was talking at The Great Escape music conference in Brighton at the weekend, where he explained that portability options would only be available to paying subscribers.

Users do not have to pay to listen to the 3m tracks available through the service, but must listen to adverts between songs.

They can opt out of listening to the ads by paying a £9.99 a month.

Spotify is eager to boost its revenues through the paid-for model -- while 1m UK users have signed up to Spotify, it is believed that only a small proportion of them are paying customers.

Ek said that plans are afoot to launch extras to entice users to pay the monthly charge, including better sound quality options, social networking features, behind-the-scenes content and the option to listen to tracks before their official release.

He also hinted strongly that Spotify is set to announce a deal with music streaming website Last.fm, a partnership that would enable Spotify to recommend music appropriate to users' tastes.

Ek said: "We definitely want to have music recommendations, but we would never recommend tracks ourselves.

"I'd love to work with someone like Last.fm and in a couple of days you'll see an announcement for something like that."

Spotify, which was founded in Sweden in 2006 as a legal alternative to illegal downloading sites, also plans to launch in the US.

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