Spotify pushes premium subscriptions with Christmas e-cards

LONDON - Online music streaming company Spotify has launched a Christmas e-card that allows premium subscriptions to be given as gifts.

The cards come in three values - one month, three months or six months. They can be sent via email or printed out and given in person.

Each gift voucher carries a code that can be redeemed on the Spotify site, giving the recipient access to the ad-free version either via a computer or hand-held devices such as iPhones and mobiles using the Symbian operating system.

Spotify has been looking at ways of getting more consumers to switch over to Premium Subscription, which costs £9.99 a month, after struggling to make the ad-funded free version deliver the necessary revenues to run the site.

Increasingly it is focusing on subscriptions via mobile devices, and recently hired Oskar Skal from mobile transaction firm mBlox to join as chief technology officer.

Separately, Spotify revealed today that Alicia Keys' new album 'The Element of Freedom' would debut on the service starting on Monday, a full week before it is released to the public.

The preview is being backed with competitions in a number of Spotify's markets, including a giveaway of three pairs tickets to a secret party to be held in London.

For a chance of winning, users must leave a comment on the Spotify blog. The competition is open to paying subscribers.