updated 05:35 pm EST, Wed November 23, 2011
Spotify confirms next milestone in streaming music
Spotify trumpeted on Wednesday that it had reached 2.5 million paid subscribers. The figure includes both those paying for the basic web access, either $5 or five euros, as well as Premium members on the $10 or ten-euro plan. Although it didn't mention free users, recent checks have about four million new free accounts since getting the deeper Facebook tie-in.
The company also didn't divide the growth regionally, although Europe is still considered its foundation. Unofficial data had it reaching 250,000 paying Americans as of October, more than tripling its base in a month.
Spotify's growth helps cement its place as the largest streaming music service so far and is critical to its success. More paying customers helps persuade labels that have often been worried Spotify wasn't converting enough customers to paid use.
It still faces a significant barrier from labels backing out over revenues. Paid customers help increase the revenues going to artists, but many have complained that they still make less than they do through fewer pay-per-song sales on iTunes and its alternatives. Spotify and its equivalents have blamed bad label deals for some of the low income for musicians.
Spotify has promised an "exciting new direction" at its November 30 special event that may see it more aggressively chase new users beyond its core formula.