May 28, 2023

Spotify says over half a billion people, 515 million to be exact, use its streaming service on a monthly basis as of March 31st. That’s an increase of 22 percent compared to last year, or 5 percent versus last quarter. Spotify said the user growth exceeded its guidance by 15 million, with CEO Daniel Ek commenting that the results represented the service’s second largest quarter of user growth in its history. Paid subscribers, meanwhile, now sit at 210 million, a 15 percent increase year-over-year.

Spotify posted a net loss of €225 million (around $248 million) as part of today’s earnings release, which covers the first quarter of 2023. That compares to a net income of €131 million (around $145 million) in the same period a year earlier, but down from a €270 million (around $298 million) loss last quarter. Losses like this aren’t unusual for a business that’s generally prioritized growth over quarterly profits. Average revenue per user fell 1 percent to €4.32 (around $4.77), likely as a result of the discounted and lower prices Spotify charges to attract customers in new markets.

Once again, this earnings release doesn’t mention when Spotify’s higher-quality HiFi tier may launch. The company announced the new service over two years ago, and at the time said it would offer CD-quality lossless audio for users to listen to. HiFi is believed to be ready from a technical standpoint, but it’s rumored that Spotify’s original plans to charge extra for HiFi were undermined by competitors Apple and Amazon offering lossless streams at no extra cost to users. Spotify’s co-president says that a lossless feature is still “coming at some point” when asked during a recent episode of Decoder, but it’s unclear when that might be. 

Spotify is widely considered to have the most paid subscribers out of any music streaming service, although at this point it’s been years since competitors like Apple and Amazon officially released comparable figures, per Music Ally. In terms of monthly active users, Spotify’s 515 million compares to 567 million monthly active users for Tencent Music Entertainment’s apps as of the end of 2022, or the over two billion users that YouTube said visited its platform to consume music as of 2020. But these numbers arguably aren’t directly comparable to Spotify, given Tencent Music’s are spread across three different streaming services (QQ Music, Kugou and Kuwo), and YouTube is primarily a user-generated video streaming service that also includes music.

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