Spotify hits 124 million subscribers, but reports loss of $231 million

Spotify hit 124 million subscribers at the end of 2019, up 29% from the previous year, the company reported Wednesday. However, tempering that subscriber increase, Spotify reported a loss of 209 million euros ($231 million) in the fourth quarter.

Spotify subscribers - Apple Music shown
Apple Music
Joan E. Solsman for CNET:

Spotify’s latest membership number growth appeared to keep it well above its closest competitor Apple Music; Apple last disclosed that Music had 60 million subscribers back in June. Spotify also said Wednesday that 271 million people total now use its service at least once a month, up 31% percent from a year earlier. Spotify, unlike Apple, has a free tier that lets anyone listen to music with advertising. Apple has never disclosed a monthly-active-user stat; almost all people who use Apple Music are subscribers.

In the last year, Spotify has targeted its next stage of growth in podcasts — an area that Apple so dominates that the name of the format originally derived from Apple’s iPod. It budgeted between $400 million and $500 million to invest in podcast acquisitions last year… Looking ahead to 2020, Spotify predicted that it will have 142 million to 153 million paid subscribers by the end of this year…

MacDailyNews Take: Good luck with your quest to dominate podcasting, Spotify. You’re gonna need it.

Spotify is really good at one thing: Losing money.

Apple Music surpassed Spotify in paid subscriptions in the U.S., the world’s largest music market, in early 2019.

Spotify offers 20% fewer tracks than Apple Music for the same price. Apple Music boasts a catalog of 60 million songs; Spotify has just 50 million. Don’t overpay for less! If you’re still subscribing to Spotify, it’s past time for you to cancel it and upgrade to Apple Music. (See also: How to move your Spotify playlists to Apple Music.)

Note: Spotify launched nearly 14 years ago on April 23, 2006. Apple Music turns five-years-old on June 30, 2015.

8 Comments

  1. The race to the bottom is never a winning solution. Spotify has a lot of subscribers but those users incur more costs due to the music they listen too. How is Spotify going to reduce their costs? They already have economy of scale and probably cannot negotiate cheaper per song costs. They may have to raise their prices which then makes them more expensive than Apple.
    Apple is making billions a quarter out of services. Music must be part of that and so it is interesting that profitability is possible in that market. Maybe the subscriber base is smaller, also uses the service less regularly and maybe the family plan increases overall revenue. I for one go through periods of listening to music and then stop for a while. Probably only my daughter is a heavy user of new content. So Apple overall has to pay less per user.

  2. Spotify needs to get realistic, if they are losing money because they cannot convert free subs to paying ones. Bragging on their site its not a trial and you don’t need a credit card..

    If they want to say in business or make actual money, they are going to have to tell the “free”loaders that your freebie is now a 1-2 or 3 month trial and at the end, you pay something or go without or look for some other free place (if there is one) that will go out of business once a few million freebie spotifiers move to them and run their costs through the roof..

    1. Spotify, like Amazon, never appears to earn a profit. But Spotify has been acquiring exclusive content and stuff like podcasts at a steady pace. Apple is not a one stop audio store and should never be. This market needs more competition, not less.

  3. Yes Spotify is growing at an amazing clip. I think there is some serious competition in the market with Apple music, and with Amazon to say the least. They will have to find a way to make themselves standout from the rest of their competitors. I think it will just take time for them to strategize and come up with options to stand out.

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