DMN zooms in on what Spotify has been up to lately, and what this means for artists and fans…
Healthy subscriber growth.
Spotify announced on March 21st that it had hit 30 million subscribers. DMN predicts that Spotify now has approximately 32 million paying users, based on a simple growth calculation of one million users per month.
Spotify has the most paying subscribers of all, which means generally that artists will gain more streams on the service. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that artists will make more money, there are streaming platforms that pay far more per stream. Part of the problem is Spotify’s 70 million users that are signed up to the free ad-supported tier – this generates a small fraction of premium.
Reduces family plan price to better compete with major rival, Apple Music.
Spotify didn’t want to let their family plan stand in the way of being the number one streaming service in the market. And the major benefit of Apple Music, aside from its radio service, was the family plan. Apple allows 6 different users to have full access to its streaming platform for just $14.99 a month.
This was a major advantage over Spotify, whose service used to cost over $30 for up to 5 users. But now the streaming platform has updated their family plan, which now matches the price of Apple Musics’. The newer price option may be enough for subscribing families to move over to Spotify’s service, as there is now another affordable choice.
Starting to focus on streaming exclusives?
This is a company that hasn’t really dabbled into streaming artist exclusives. Quite the contrary: the streaming service has previous dubbed long-term exclusives as ‘bad for artists and bad for fans’. But maybe that’s about to change: just recently, the streaming platform hired Troy Carter to improve artist and songwriter relationships. Now, there’s speculation that Carter was hired to focus on setting up exclusives for Spotify.
The fact that Spotify may want to start working with artists on exclusives represents a serious shift. That would follow similar moves by Tidal and Apple Music, though the overall market impact could be confusing. Indeed, the wider issue of windowing artists’ music can be frustrating for a music fan, and few will sign up for multiple services.
The massive lawsuit.
Spotify has been battling a massive combined $150-200 million copyright infringement lawsuit brought forward by David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick. Also, according to legal filings obtained by DMN, a Dutch photographer by the name of Dana Lixenberg is claiming copyright infringement over an image of Notorious B.I.G. within the application.
Spotify’s lawsuits won’t help the reputation as a service, though it may have little effect on music fans. The bigger effect will be on artists: after non-stop copyright infringement lawsuits and unpaid royalties, artists may think twice about making their music available on the platform.
Losing features (and gaining others)
Spotify recently ditched Musixmatch, that little button located next to the play bar on Spotify desktop which once allowed users to access lyrics to songs being played. That feature is no longer available: regardless of the button still being present, it simply doesn’t populate any results. According to Spotify, the lyrics feature is now unavailable due to ‘big improvements to the feature,’ with promised ‘updates soon’. According to one source, that could be a blown-out replacement by Genius, the well-financed, wiki-style lyrics site.
A service that routinely loses features is never a good thing — music fans find this disruptive, especially those that were active users of the feature. That said, fresh and exciting upgrades are sometimes worth the hiccup.