Spotify Launches Browser App In Beta (PICTURES)

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Spotify has launched an early preview of an in-browser version of its popular music streaming service.

The site, which has opened in a limited beta, allows users to listen to their collections of streaming music without downloading the Spotify app.

It is seen as an attempt to close the features gap on competitors Pandora and Rdio, both of which already allow streaming music from the web.

It is possible to sign up for the previously invitation-only service through Facebook here. All users can sign up - not just those who pay extra for the premium ad-free model.

On first impression the app seems to be a well-designed and full-featured version of the service, with play controls on the right hand side and access to search, playlists and new tracks on the left.

Earlier this week Spotify was valued at $3bn, after raising $100m of capital from a group of investors led by Goldman Sachs.

But the service also came under renewed criticism for not paying artists a fair price for their music.

In a piece for Pitchfork, Damon Krukowski of indie legends Galaxie 500 said that the meagre royalties paid to some artists were not enough to sustain the music industry.

He wrote: "These aren't record companies-- they don't make records, or anything else; apparently not even income. They exist to attract speculative capital. And for those who have a claim to ownership of that capital, they are earning millions."