What just happened? Spotify in its fourth quarter earnings report on Wednesday revealed that it now has 271 million total monthly active users (MAUs), up from 248 million in the previous quarter and 207 million in the year-ago quarter.

Of those, 124 million are premium (paying) subscribers and 153 million are ad-supported (free tier) MAUs. Oddly enough, the sum of 124 million and 153 million is 277 million, yet Spotify only notes 271 million total MAUs... perhaps the missing six million subscribers are premium subscribers that aren't active on a monthly basis?

Nevertheless, Spotify's premium subscriber count is up 29 percent year-over-year which is good news for the company and investors alike.

On the financial side, Spotify generated €1.86 billion ($2 billion) in the quarter, a 24 percent increase year-over-year. Unfortunately, the three-month period also saw an operating loss of €77 million ($84.7 million). In the year-ago quarter, Spotify reported an operating profit of €94 million ($103.4 million) and in the previous quarter, €54 million ($59.4 million).

Spotify attributed the loss to an 80 percent year-over-year increase in operating expenses due to "social charges," or payroll taxes associated with stock-based compensation.

Spotify shares are trading down 2.99 percent on the news as of writing.

Looking ahead to Q1 2020, Spotify is forecasting total MAUs of between 279 million and 289 million. For the full year, the company expects to finish with between 328 million and 348 million MAUs.

Masthead credit: Spotify by Christopher Penler