High Tech

Spotify’s subscribers rise to 188M amidst podcasting setbacks

Spotify’s number of premium subscribers rose to 188 million in its second quarter, while its monthly active users (MAU) now sit at 433 million, the company announced in an earnings release today. That’s a year-over-year increase of 14 percent and 19 percent respectively, and compares to the 182 million and 422 million figures it announced last quarter. The company says its growth in MAUs was its largest ever in a second quarter, and exceeded its guidance.

The earnings come at the end of a quarter in which Spotify’s big push into podcasts has experienced some hiccups. One of its biggest podcasts, Reply All, broadcast its final episode on June 23rd after co-hosts Alex Goldman and Emmanuel Dzotsi decided to leave production company Gimlet. Meanwhile, the Obamas, who signed a high profile podcasting deal with Spotify in 2019 recently decided against extending the deal and will instead work with rival podcasting platform Audible.

Spotify is still a podcasting behemoth thanks to shows like the Joe Rogan Experience and more recent hits like Breaking Bread, and the number of podcasts available through its service continues to rise. But the company is eying up audiobooks as its next major source of growth. It acquired audiobook platform Findaway last year, and Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has called audiobooks “a massive opportunity” for the company.

Spotify sustained a loss of €125 million (around $127 million) this quarter, though it tends to prioritize subscriber growth over quarterly profits. Average revenue per user now sits at €4.54 (around $4.60), up/down from €4.38 (around $4.44) last quarter.

Once again, the quarter passed without Spotify announcing a release date or pricing for Spotify HiFi, a new higher-quality subscription tier it announced over a year ago in February 2021. The tier is intended to offer lossless CD-quality music streams (similar to what’s already offered by competitors Apple Music and Amazon Music) and Spotify originally said it would launch by the end of last year. It’s unclear what’s causing the ongoing delay.

While Spotify is widely considered to be the largest music streaming service globally, many of its biggest rivals in the west don’t release comparable subscriber numbers. The latest figures for Apple and Amazon’s music streaming services compiled by Music Ally are a couple of years old at this point, but in 2019 Apple Music had around 60 million paying subscribers, while in 2020 Amazon Music had 55 million.


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