updated 09:30 pm EDT, Thu October 13, 2011
Up from 70,000 in less than a month
US growth in Spotify continues to accelerate, with the service now topping 250,000 paying users -- up from 70,000 in the early days following the launch in July, sources said Thursday. The music streaming service, which boasts a worldwide subscriber base of over two million, offers paid users no ads and unlimited streaming of music from its library of millions of songs. Spotify's recent US growth has been fueled in part by a recent integration with Facebook.
Spotify now acts as the default music service for Facebook, which boasts 800 million users. When FB users click on a Music app tab on their home page, they can access songs shared by friends through Spotify. The free service has limitations, including occasional ads, a limit on how long one can listen (10 hours per month plus 2.5 additional hours each week) or share tracks. The company offers an ad-free, unlimited-listening option for $5 per month, and a Premium option for $10 a month that includes mobile streaming, an offline mode, enhanced sound quality and exclusive content.
The service has come under some criticism for paying out very little for independent artists, regardless of popularity, compared to acts from major labels (for which Spotify pays royalties regardless of popularity). The U.S. version of Spotify was hindered for years due to negotiations with major labels. Continued growth of paid subscribers is critical to the sustainability of Spotify's business model. The service is only available to Facebook and other users in the US, UK, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, France and Switzerland, though the company plans further expansions.