updated 02:45 pm EDT, Mon August 8, 2011
Spotify growing fast in US with 175,000 paid up
Leaked figures from Spotify reveal that the company's audience since the US launch has grown rapidly. While it has 1.4 million total members when including the free listeners, it now has 175,000 paying customers, virtually all of which are paying for the $10 a month Premium plan. The figure seen by AllThingsD is more than double the 70,000 claimed roughly two weeks ago.
The growth is likely to change significantly in the next few months and may change the most at the start of 2012, when many of those getting Premium-level access for free on the web are asked to either switch to the limited free version or pay for a more advanced tier. Spotify's conversion rate of free to paid members is lower than in Europe, at 12.5 percent versus 15 percent, but pressure won't exist for the rest of 2011.
At 175,000 paying customers, Spotify is quickly catching up to Rhapsody and other subscription music services that took years to get started. Rhapsody started in December 2001, predating Apple's iTunes by a year and a half, but only just reached 800,000 customers in July.
The US has often been hesitant to adopt subscription music, in part because of Apple's dominance of the market. Spotify has had an edge in getting customers to try its service first as well as a major reputation built from its lead in Europe. About 1.6 million Europeans pay for subscriptions and have made it the leading source of income for music labels in the continent.