Spotify subscribers surge past 150 million

Spotify now boasts 155 million premium subscribers and 345 million monthly active users, according to its latest earnings report released today. Those numbers represent a 24 percent and 27 percent year-over year increase. Its biggest increase was in ad-supported monthly active users, which rose 30 percent to 199 million. Last quarter, it reported having reached 144 million subscribers, and 320 million monthly active users.

However, despite the growth in listeners, The Wall Street Journal notes that the average revenue per user fell by 8 percent to €4.26 (around $5.13) compared to a year ago. That’s because of the discounted plans used to lure in new subscribers, and the lower prices it charges in markets like Russia and India. Ad revenue was up, however, accounting for 13 percent of revenue despite historically bringing in less than 10 percent.

Overall Spotify still made a loss of €125 million, but that’s down from the €209 million loss it made the year before. It’s rare for Spotify to post a profit as the company continues to invest in growth, according to the WSJ.

The earnings announcement comes as Spotify continues to make big investments outside of music, the service’s traditional strength. It recently made moves into audiobooks, experimenting with offering recordings of celebrities reading public domain books like Frankenstein, and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.

Spotify is also investing heavily in podcast. This quarter, the company continued to sign big names for its podcast business like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and Ava Duvernay. It now offers more than 2.2 million podcasts through its service, with podcast consumption up nearly 100 percent compared to the same time a year ago. Spotify says that 25 percent of its users engaged with podcast content during the quarter.

Spotify has argued that its investment in podcasts in particular increases usage, engagement, and customer retention, and present an opportunity for it to decrease its reliance on licensing music from labels. Spotify reiterated that belief in today’s earnings release.

However, some analysts say the investment in podcasts has yet to meaningfully pay off, CBNC recently reported. Writing in an investor note, analysts at Citi said that “to date, we have not seen a material positive inflection in app downloads or Premium subscriptions” as a result of Spotify’s podcast investments. Last year, reports indicated that Spotify was exploring the possibility of a subscription podcast service, opening up another source of income.

This earnings report won’t be Spotify’s last major announcement of the month. Yesterday the company teased a “Stream On” event taking place on February 22nd. In today’s release, the company said it will use the event “to share the latest on the state of global audio streaming and where it’s headed in the future.”

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