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Spotify leads the streaming music industry with more than 40 million paid subscribers

By Shawn Knight · 9 replies
Sep 14, 2016
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  1. Much like magazines and newspapers, streaming music outfits largely measure success by the number of paying subscribers on the roster. It is why, when a major player like Spotify announces it now has more than 40 million paid subscribers, people take notice.

    Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek disclosed the milestone on Twitter Tuesday morning.

    At last check (this past March), Spotify had 30 million paying subscribers which means it added 10 million premium users in less than six months. A month later, the company said it had more than 100 million active monthly users, a significant figure considering Spotify is one of just a handful of streaming music services that still offers a free, ad-supported tier.

    How does that compare to the competition?

    During its iPhone 7 media event last week, Apple said it now has 17 million paying Apple Music subscribers – up from just 13 million in April (Apple Music doesn’t offer a free tier). The Tidal ship, captained by music mogul Jay Z, continues to take on water as the company lost nearly twice as much money in 2015 as it did the year before.

    Jay Z back in April sued Tidal's former owners over claims that it lied about how many subscribers it had during the negotiation process. After the sale, new management realized that the true subscriber count was well below the 540,000 the previous owners claimed. As of this past March, Tidal had three million subscribers.

    Rhapsody, which acquired online music pioneer Napster in 2011, recently decided to revert back to the controversial name. As of late last year, the company had nearly 3.5 million paying subscribers; it's unclear how many premium members it has added in 2016.

    Internet radio pioneer Pandora, which is expected to launch an on-demand subscription service any day now, could work its way onto the podium after acquiring Rdio last November for $75 million.

    In related news, Spotify’s chief revenue officer Jeff Levick announced on Medium that he is leaving the company after five years on the job.

    Levick had nothing but good things to say about Spotify in his farewell speech, citing his love for the company, the product, the teams and the hyper growth they’ve experienced over the past several years. All of the hard work has certainly paid off but as Levick noted, working hard is hard work.

    When questioning whether or not he was up for another grueling five years of global travel in which he would miss more of his kids’ various activities and continue to put the burden of raising them on his wife, it started to become clear that maybe a change was in order.

    Spotify told Re/code that the ad sales team that used to report to Levick will now answer to chief financial officer Barry McCarthy while the team that manages Spotify’s subscriber business will now report directly to Ek.

    Tidal image courtesy Kevin Mazur, Roc Nation. Levick photo via Business Insider

    Permalink to story.

  2. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,160   +829

    No data on Amazon's or Google's offering?
  3. fps4ever

    fps4ever TS Booster Posts: 95   +66

    Putting an ad sales division under a Financials officer...yeah, nothing but good things gonna happen now. :-\
  4. mrjgriffin

    mrjgriffin TS Addict Posts: 207   +97

    I cant wait to see what happens when pandora adds the ability to download songs like spotify does. spotify will be in trouble imo
  5. Jibberish18

    Jibberish18 TS Evangelist Posts: 595   +58

    I would have to disagree. I think at this point most people have forgotten about Pandora. Kudos to Spotify though. 100 Million subscribers later and their mobile software is still ****!
    wastedkill likes this.
  6. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,162   +548

    The only problem I really have with pandora, is that some of the songs I want to hear, aren't available.
    So far with Spotify, there hasn't been anything I've searched for, I haven't found.
  7. yukka

    yukka TechSpot Paladin Posts: 855   +64

    I use Spotify. I pay £14.99 a month for s family pack so I can listen at work while my missus can play her music on our Sonus. Tou would think
    With all those subscribers that they would be able to pay artists more. I thought subsidising the free tier was breaking them but they ha verge most premium subs as well?
  8. KS2 Problema

    KS2 Problema TS Rookie

    This is what I was wondering, as well. As a music subscriber for over a decade, I've seen a lot of services come and go, so the financial health of the service I currently use is always of great interest.

    I've had MusicMatch On Demand, Yahoo Music Unlimited, and MOG killed off while I was subscribed. Beats -- which I also did two extended trials of (I thought it was awful but the trials were free as they bought MOG and shut it down trying to clear a path for Beats) also was scuttled.

    Now, as a two year, ongoing, generally happy Google Play Music subscriber, I was definitely intrigued by the very latest round of changes to Apple Music -- which seemed in the MacWorld description I read last night to almost completely mirror the basic features and functions of Google's system (which incorporated the apparently popular Songza playlist functionality).

    I use GPM mostly on the desktop -- my 2010 phone doesn't have the horsepower, though it worked great with MOG's old app, and Beats appeared to run on it [though Beats itself was pretty awful, as noted, and when the rolled out, everything was broken on the desktop and mobile; took them a couple weeks to sort of get things working].

    GPM does run on my cheapo tablet, but, somewhat ironically, it was a trainwreck on my (original 2012) Google Nexus 7 tablet -- filling the already pathetically limited onboard 16 GB -- and that was the *big* size when I bought it -- with album art files from my (apparently over-large) favorites library -- a half a GB of just album art at one point. The UI also ran very, very poorly on the Nexus 7.

    But, on the desktop where I do my serious listening (my very good playback and outboard audio converters are integrated with my computer, which, in effect, is my home info/entertainment center), I'm a big fan of GPM. I've also been on Spotify's pay tier for a 3 month trial and while it has some good features, I REALLY hate the user interface, a total pain.
  9. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,160   +829

    I would say Spotify is on par with GPM interface now, been subscribed to both and I only changed Spotify because the account got hacked -I still don't know how- and the support was less than helpful, asking me information that the breacher can easily access if they log into my account and not having 2 step authentication, at that moment I switched into GPM and for the only thing I've looked back is the desktop client that spotify had, IMO is much better than the web-based GPM offers.
  10. KS2 Problema

    KS2 Problema TS Rookie

    It is nice to be able to access your local files locally, for sure. That said, most of what I want to listen to is already in the GPM catalog, and the strays I've uploaded to my GPM locker. Still, a local client would allow one to customize his user interface more and more easily. For instance, it would be nice for hi fi buffs to be able to choose which audio interface they want GPM to use. In fact, at the top of my GPM wish list in general would be for the devs to make it more user configurable -- but, of course, that's outside the Google dev culture, I'm afraid.

    Someday there will be a service for people who are serious about music.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016

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