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Spotify’s paid subscribers hit 165M as podcast listening ‘improved modestly’

Spotify’s paid subscribers hit 165M as podcast listening ‘improved modestly’


Another quarter of content and technology acquisitions

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Spotify’s latest subscriber numbers.
Spotify’s latest subscriber numbers.
Image: Spotify

Spotify now has 165 million premium subscribers and 365 million monthly active users according to a new earnings report released today. It’s a year-over-year increase of 20 percent and 22 percent respectively, and up from the 158 million subscribers and 356 million MAUs seen last quarter.

Rivals Apple Music and Amazon Music don’t regularly release comparable numbers, but their most recent public figures compiled by Music Ally put them at 60 million and around 55 million paying subscribers, respectively.

Spotify’s interest in podcasts has showed no signs of slowing this quarter, as it’s continued to make acquisitions and investments in both podcasting content and technology. The company recently acquired the exclusive rights to two podcasts, Call Her Daddy and Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert, as well as the company Podz whose technology automates the process of creating preview clips that feature key moments from podcasts. 

The Joe Rogan experience “continues to perform above expectations”

According to Spotify, the percentage of monthly active users engaged with podcast content last quarter “improved modestly” compared to the last two quarters when about 25 percent of all MAUs engaged. Podcast listening hit an all-time high in Q2 in terms of its share of consumption hours on the platform. Spotify also says that The Joe Rogan Experience “continues to perform above expectations.” There are now 2.9 million podcasts available on Spotify, The Wall Street Journal notes, up from 2.6 million last quarter.

As well as acquiring exclusive rights to podcasts, Spotify is also enticing other creators onto its platform with paid subscription features. It announced its own podcast subscription feature in April, and yesterday said it will allow paid shows from platforms like Slate and Acast to stream through its service. Features like these should make Spotify a more attractive and profitable platform for podcast creators.

Spotify’s average revenue per user increased this quarter, reversing recent trends. The figure now sits at €4.29 (around $5.07) per premium subscriber, which is up from €4.12 last quarter. The increase comes after the service increased its subscription prices in the UK and US this quarter. The figure is still down by 3 percent year-over-year however.

Overall, the company made a net loss of €20 million, compared to a net loss of €356 million it made in the same quarter the previous year. Executives have said that the company’s focus is on growth rather than turning a profit on a quarterly basis, the Wall Street Journal notes, while the previous loss was mainly due to taxes the company had to pay related to its Swedish workforce.

Today’s release hasn’t yet offered any more details about Spotify HiFi, the service’s forthcoming lossless streaming tier. Despite announcing the new tier in February with a provisional release date of later this year, Spotify is yet to announce an official launch date or pricing. In the months since its announcement, competitor Apple Music announced and then released its own lossless audio streaming feature, which is available at no additional cost. (Amazon also dropped the premium it previously charged for its own lossless streams on the same day.) Whether Spotify likes it or not, the lossless streaming market is now a lot more competitive than it was in February.