Apps@SXSW: Spotify Crosses 320,000, But Where’s My US App?

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If South-by propelled Twitter into the stratosphere, why not a sultry new music app?

MOG previewed a neat little mobile package on Monday, and eventgoers were hoping for a little ‘answer’ from Spotify on Tuesday at SXSWi.

Nothing of the sort materialized.  Instead, Spotify head Daniel Ek trotted out a few stats, some nice talking points, and a generally calm Scandinavian demeanor during an interview at the Austin Convention Center.  Asking the questions was Eliot Van Buskirk of Wired.

So why no US release schedule, for either the online or mobile application?  Austin is a legendary music spot, but the hard-nosed contractual discussions are happening back in New York and Los Angeles.

The conversion numbers are getting better.  “We’re now in six countries, and have more than 320,000 paying subscribers,” Ek relayed.  Back of the envelope math?  Paying subs are floating at around 4.6 percent, given a top-line estimate of 7 million users (also offered by Ek).  Last month at the New Music Seminar in Los Angeles, Ek disclosed a paid subscriber number of 250,000.

Other stats from the chat?  Spotify currently houses 100 million playlists, of which 30 million are albums.  In Sweden, the app is used by 15-18 percent of the population, and the resulting swell is happening alongside album sales increases.

The conclusion?  Spotify helps to sell more music, or something like that.  But that is another debate.

Outside of the Spotify bubble, some other interesting app developments are happening.  Back in Los Angeles, Universal Music Group tossed its ‘Six String’ iPhone app into the ring, a guitar simulation game.  The app allows players to strum along with recordings from Bon Jovi, Peter Frampton, Fall Out Boy, and others.

Back in Austin, Slacker was also buzzing.  The company just announced a partnership with A&R-focused startup Hello Music.  But Slacker is also cooking an on-demand component.  According to tips from Wired (and confirmed by the company), the Slacker entry would combine elements of Pandora, Spotify, and Rhapsody.

Report by Alexandra Osorio in Austin and Paul Resnikoff in Los Angeles.