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Spotify testing web-based music streaming service

Spotify has confirmed that it plans to launch a web-based version of its music streaming service in the near future, providing a platform-independent method of accessing its music catalogue.

Spotify launched back in 2008, two years after the company was founded by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, offering a choice of subscription-based or ad-supported free access to unlimited music streaming. A partnership with Facebook, which meant that all new customers would require a Facebook account to access the service, saw the company's user base jump in size, as did an expansion to the US. Even the introduction of limits for free users, including a per-song playback limit and a maximum of 10 hours of audio streaming per month, did little to slow the company's growth.

One thing Spotify does not offer, however, is a web-based version of its software that can be used in a browser - something rivals including Rdio and Pandora have had since launch. As a result, those on unsupported platforms - including Linux, which has a version of the software available only to paying customers, with free customers left locked out - or on a PC onto which they can't install third-party software are unable to use the service.

Recently evidence has leaked of a web-based Spotify client, currently being run in a closed beta test. Its existence has been confirmed by the company, which told Gizmodo that "we've launched a beta version of a Spotify web player that we're testing with a small number of users. Potentially it's a great additional feature for times you can't play music through the desktop app, like at work or at a friend's house," in a statement attributed to employee Graham James.

Sadly, James wasn't so forthcoming with a possible release date. "We'll have more detail on the web player next year," he promised, suggesting that Spotify is looking to an early- to mid-2013 launch for its web-based service.

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