Uh-Oh: Is Spotify Struggling With Slower Subscriber Growth?

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*if Spotify announces its 7 millionth paying subscriber next month…

If Spotify is already hitting a subscriber slowdown, then what?

Spotify is not disclosing any subscriber information at this time, but there are two possibilities here:

(a) paid subscribers are surging, and Spotify isn’t telling anyone; or

(b) paid subscribers are flattening, and Spotify isn’t telling anyone.

Here are the facts we do know:

(1) In March, 2013, Spotify announced that it had reached 6 million paying subscribers, and 18 million free users.

(2) As of February 10th, 2014, Spotify only indicated that it had “more than 6 million paying subscribers” on its official tally.

(3) Spotify has declined to discuss its subscriber numbers any further.  It is unclear when the next subscriber announcement might be.

(4) If Spotify has a problem, streaming music has a problem.


Written while listening to Autrechre on Beats Music for iPad on some crappy United Airlines headphones.

11 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Well, they clearly have an artist relations problem, earned or not. Maybe the fans are listening to the artists they love and not using Spotify, though that seems like shooting yourself in the foot when it’s just pushing them to Youtube instead.

    • GGG

      Spotify has a marketing problem. I don’t think 90% of the country knows they exist. Beats seems to know how to advertise, so it’ll be interesting to see how many people sign up.

  2. visitor

    people who care about artists and music may feel guilty, and of course with new entrants to the market like beats will also slow their roll… beats has no free tier, which means more money for musicians from fans who care.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Beats is a really interesting curated experience, and a completely different approach to streaming… it could be revolutionary, even. But I just wonder if you can be revolutionary with a paywall, or if the bigger revolution was giving everything away for $0 and some occasional ads.

      Let’s see: Spotify and Rdio are totally expanding their free tiers; those that have refused (ie, Rhapsody) are not growing to the same degree. Then of course, you have YouTube pressing the price towards $0, while making it extremely challenging to charge $10/mo. for a better-arranged and neater collection.

      Perhaps the magic answer comes in the Muve Music-style, all-inclusive mobile plan, though AT&T is undoubtedly taking its pound of flesh from Beats (just like every other mobile carrier).

      • Anonymous

        “I just wonder if you can be revolutionary with a paywall”

        Apple was — and iTunes is still the only reliable source of income for recording musicians. The only relevant free service is YouTube, and it won’t be free for much longer.

        You can’t expect a revolution each month…

  3. TuneHunter

    What are we waiting for?

    Miracle will not happen.

    All streamers, including subscription based web Radio, will bring at the best 1/2 billion subs @ $5 a month.
    That will make just $30B /year. At that point there will be no iTunes or Amazon MP3 and Tube style advertising smoke around free music will add net 5 billion dollars. Actually this net 5 for ads is questionable due to unavoidable shrinkage of conventional Radio – which is made of pure advertising.

    Our destiny with current psycho games is 35B dollar industry in 2025.

    As we speak 100 billion dollars of music goodwill is shredded to 17B joke by French owned British operated circus, Sony very busy to generate billion dollar loss in current fiscal year and one Russian oligarch.

    Time to wake up – the money for all, including the streamers, is in Discovery Moment Monetization.

  4. Why do I bother?

    Your treatment of statistics just gets worse. Now you’re making them up. Awesome.


    • TuneHunter

      If you don’t like Paul’s statistics check my post above you.
      It is very generous estimate clearly showing hopeless business activity.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Sad to see you go, especially since this is a fairly simple ‘statistics’ exercise. It plots subscriber announcements made by Spotify, then plots the growth (in absolute terms) over the time period. Pretty simple.

    • R.P.

      he’s a complete idiot, but it’s much to fun to unsubscribe. 🙂