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Spotify hits 320 million monthly active users

Brian Heater
·2-min read

In its latest quarterly financial report, Spotify announced that it had crossed 320 million active monthly users. That marks a 29% growth for the quarter, coming on the heels of what seems to be a rather successful launch into the Russian market. Of that number, it now counts 144 million paid users — a 27% jump.

Spotify continues to be the largest music streaming service globally by a rather wide margin. Apple comes in at number two, with around 60 million paid subscribers, as of last year. Amazon Music, meanwhile, is not too far behind at 55 million — though the company doesn’t break out paid subscriber figures (Apple’s is premium only, following a three-month free trial).

In spite of solid growth, Spotify reported a quarterly loss of around $118 million — a big shift since making a quarterly profit in Q3. Among the key drivers the company cited are its on-going decision to offer discounted plans in order to attract new users to the service.

“We can grow that by either adding more users or raising the price of existing users,” the company said on this morning’s call. “We still think there are billions more to go after in this ecosystem, and we’re going to invest in better tools. That will increase the engagement, and if that increases the engagement, it increases our ability to monetize them as well.”

The company has, of course, been spending money like crazy in a bid to become a leader in podcasting content. The past two years have found it spending hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase technology and content companies, including Gimlet, Anchor, Parcast and sports media giant, the Ringer. It noted in this morning’s call that the recent purchase of the Joe Rogan Experience has quickly become its most popular podcast in all of its English-speaking markets.

Spotify says the show has “outperform[ed] our audience expectations. We look forward to the start of our exclusivity period for this podcast by the end of this year.” Rogan’s show created a storm of controversy almost immediately. Just this week, an appearance by de-platformed conspiracy theorist Alex Jones reignited a number of these issues. The company did not respond to our request for comment yesterday.

Nor did it respond to a recent call to increase pay and transparency for musicians — an increasingly important issue as the COVID-19 pandemic has made it all but impossible to make a living on live shows.