Spotify reaches 100 million subscribers worldwide, still losing money

“Spotify now has 100 million paying users around the world, the company said on Monday,” Ben Sisario reports for The New York Times.

“In its first-quarter earnings report, Spotify said it had 217 million users around the world, up from 207 million at the end of last year. Of those, 100 million are paying subscribers, compared with 96 million at the end of 2018,” Sisario reports. “In its most recent quarter, Spotify, which is based in Stockholm, had revenue of 1.5 billion euros, about $1.7 billion… It had a net loss of €142 million, or about $158 million.”

“The company’s main rival is Apple, thanks to the iPhone maker’s introduction in 2015 of Apple Music, which has 50 million paying users around the world. [Spotify launched in in 2008],” Sisario reports. “Unlike Spotify, which offers a free plan that includes advertising, Apple Music is available only by paid subscription.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Enjoy it while it lasts, Spotify. If burning thru $158 million per quarter is somehow enjoyable.

Last November, Financial Times reported that Apple Music had 56 million subscribers, up from 50 million in May.

Unlike Spotify, Apple is not opposed to paying songwriters more.

Maybe we’ll get an official Apple Music subscriber update during tomorrow’s Q219 earnings conference call.

Apple is the real winner in Spotify’s battle against paying songwriters more – April 9, 2019
Apple Music overtakes Spotify in paid U.S. subscribers – April 5, 2019
Apple will not appeal songwriter royalty increase, digital music competitors Spotify, Google, Pandora, and Amazon – March 7, 2019
Spotify, Apple, YouTube lose as Copyright Royalty Board raises streaming music royalty rates – January 29, 2018


  1. If I were Apple, I’d go after the Spotify 217 million users around the world,, and make Spotify the offer they cant refuse. That’s a lot of customers to hopefully add the to Apple ecosystem, as they could have done with Netflix, possibly, wow, imagine if they added music video to the platform, boom you’d have something that is on its way to challenging YouTube.

  2. Wait until the royalty payments go up and see how long Spotify can last.. They will have to raise prices (they should do this now) The Apple will win..

  3. That’s because they don’t charge anything. Duh. I personally won’t support a service that is nearly 100% ad and data harvesting-driven. This isn’t any different than with any other app since ever. People are dumb about their privacy rights.

  4. The fundamental flaw with Spotify’s business model isn’t Apple’s 15% cut (30% for 1st year), it’s they still have to pay for plays for all free users.

    I can’t see a time when they don’t have a significant number of free users which means the amount of profit they can make is naturally limited. So far this seems to have been true and based on their latest losses it’s seems to be getting worse. This is why I think Apple hasn’t offered a free tier, it just doesn’t add up.

    Not sure why the music industry think this is a healthy situation, an unlimited free tier isn’t sustainable and kind of devalues their music. The music industry doesn’t seem to care as long as they get paid.

    It’s rather obvious from their results that Apple’s so called “unfair practices” isn’t slowing them down. The only thing I agree with Spotify on is Apple should lower their cut, it’s been at 30% since the beginning however Spotify shouldn’t get a free ride on someone else’s platform, even if that platform provider creates a competing product. Yes, you could argue AppleMusic has an unfair advantage because it doesn’t have to pay a cut and could access underlying technology that Spotify can’t but that’s the perks of being the platform creator, its a problem you are always going to have when you build your business on someone else’s platform. It’s not Apple’s fault that Spotify’s business model sucks, Apple shouldn’t have to give away their platform and users so Spotify has a better chance of making a profit.

    Thanks to a free market Spotify is always free to dump Apple and go to other platforms or even create their own OS and marketplace. The thing they will probably find is it costs a hell of a lot of money to do this and they should probably charge 30% to anyone who that wants to use their platform so they can maintain it.

    1. One other thing, I really don’t feel AppleMusic needs to beat Spotify. It’s main goal should be to provide a first class music service to Apple customers and to extend Apple’s ecosystem. For customers it’s important as it provides more choice and competition. For the music industry it should be very important as its one of the few profitable music services.

      1. I’m actually a Spotify user on the free tier because why not, it’s free. I guess that makes me part of Spotify’s financial issues. Ironically if you hate Spotify, one way to make their situation worse is to join the free tier and just stream music 24/7 (this is a joke, not a suggestion).

        I still find AppleMusic’s UI a bit confusing but it has greatly improved compared to the early days. Sadly I think Spotify’s last major UI revamp has made it worse and so both services seem to be pretty much on the same level from a UI perspective.
        Spotify has slightly better playlists but Apple definitely has more overall music.
        Another sad fact is Spotify heavily sells your usage data where obviously Apple doesn’t. For me that’s not really an issue as long as it’s anonymous but these days for some that’s a deal breaker.

  5. People can say anything, how does one actually confirm that Spotify has the sub numbers they claim… Course this could be said for Apple or any other company that makes subscriber number claims.

  6. Good points FizzyPanda. Offering stuff for free is never going to be a winning solution unless you can convert those to paying at some point or if the ads pay for the cost of the plays.
    Spotify like many others in the tech industry are going for market share thinking that at some point it will make them money.
    Only M$ really achieved that and were successful because it locked in businesses into their ecosystem. Spotify doesn’t have much to offer, except for free music to mostly teenagers.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.