Spotify now has 60m users including 15m paying subscribers

Streaming music service has added 10m new users in two months despite its high-profile dispute over royalties with Taylor Swift

Spotify added 10 million new users in the last two months of 2014, taking it to 60 million at the end of the year according to new figures published by the streaming music company.

15 million of those users were paying subscribers, up from 12.5 million in early November, when Spotify last released figures at the height of its dispute with musician Taylor Swift.

The new figures were revealed in a short blog post published by Spotify. The company has maintained its conversion rate of 25% of its users paying for the service since May 2014, when it reached 40 million users and 10 million subscribers.

Spotify was already by some distance the most popular music subscription service in the world, with rival Deezer claiming 16 million users including six million paying subscribers, and subscription-only service Rhapsody having two million customers.

Spotify’s numbers will have been swelled by a pre-Christmas promotion offering people three months of its premium subscription service for $0.99, rather than the usual monthly cost of $9.99.

The company also introduced its “family plan” in November, enabling subscribers to add up to four family members with their own accounts on the service for $4.99 a month.

However, the latest figures will be brandished by Spotify executives as more proof that the company’s free, advertising-supported tier, including the free mobile version that it launched in December 2013, remains an important stepping stone towards paid subscriptions.

“More than 80% of our subscribers started as free users,” wrote Ek in his November blog post responding to the furore around Swift’s removal of her music from Spotify. “If you take away only one thing, it should be this: No free, no paid, no two billion dollars.”

The latter figure related to the amount of royalties paid out by Spotify since its launch in 2008, including $1bn paid out in 2014 alone.

2015 will be a crucial year for Spotify, and not just in terms of whether the company can win over more of its critics among artists and songwriters. It will be facing growing competition from deep-pocketed rivals like Google and Apple, while also possibly going public with its long-anticipated IPO.

Streaming music: what next for Apple, YouTube and Spotify?

Spotify v Artists: 10 things to read to understand the debate


Stuart Dredge

The GuardianTramp

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