Spotify is adding users faster than it thought it would

It has 320 million active and 144 million paid subscribers, miles beyond rivals.

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After a short COVID-19 related slump in Q1 2020 and a rebound in Q2, Spotify saw big growth in subscriber numbers for its latest earnings period. The service now counts 320 million active and 144 million paid users, up from 299 million and 138 million last quarter, beating its own estimates. The company chalked that up to more users listening in both their cars and homes, even above its pre-pandemic peak.

Spotify’s launch in Russia also helped, with the company calling it the “most successful new market launch to date.” The company’s subscriber numbers tower over its closest rivals, with Amazon Music and Apple Music counting 55 million and 60 million paid subscribers, respectively.

The company took in correspondingly more revenue, pulling in €1.98 billion ($2.32 billion), or 14 percent more than last quarter. However, it still lost €101 million ($118 million), where last year at the same time it actually made a €241 million ($282 million) profit. That’s because it’s been discounting family plans in some regions to attract new users, which significantly lowered the revenue per user. At the same time, Spotify said it would increase prices in certain regions where it’s well positioned against the competition.

On the content side, Spotify said music releases were up 13 percent over the last quarter, with Taylor Swift’s Folklore album setting a record for the most first-day streams by a female artist. The company now counts 1.9 million podcasts, up 19 percent, including exclusives from Michelle Obama, Kim Kardashian and Joe Rogan.

Rogan’s show, which is now Spotify’s number one show in all its English speaking markets, was recently criticized for interviewing Infowars host Alex Jones, who has been banned from multiple platforms. A Spotify executive reportedly defended the decision in an internal letter seen by Buzzfeed, saying the service needed to host “diverse voices.”

When asked about the controversy during the earnings call today, CEO Daniel Ek replied: “We obviously review all the content that goes up. It doesn't matter if you're Joe Rogan or anyone else. We do apply those policies, but it's important to note that this needs to be evenly applied, no matter if it's an internal pressure or an external pressure as well.”