15 million of those users were paying subscribers, up from 12.5 million in early November, when Spotify last released figures at the height of its dispute with musician Taylor Swift.
The new figures were revealed in a short blog post published by Spotify. The company has maintained its conversion rate of 25% of its users paying for the service since May 2014, when it reached 40 million users and 10 million subscribers.
Spotify was already by some distance the most popular music subscription service in the world, with rival Deezer claiming 16 million users including six million paying subscribers, and subscription-only service Rhapsody having two million customers.
Spotify’s numbers will have been swelled by a pre-Christmas promotion offering people three months of its premium subscription service for $0.99, rather than the usual monthly cost of $9.99.
The company also introduced its “family plan” in November, enabling subscribers to add up to four family members with their own accounts on the service for $4.99 a month.
However, the latest figures will be brandished by Spotify executives as more proof that the company’s free, advertising-supported tier, including the free mobile version that it launched in December 2013, remains an important stepping stone towards paid subscriptions.
“More than 80% of our subscribers started as free users,” wrote Ek in his November blog post responding to the furore around Swift’s removal of her music from Spotify. “If you take away only one thing, it should be this: No free, no paid, no two billion dollars.”
The latter figure related to the amount of royalties paid out by Spotify since its launch in 2008, including $1bn paid out in 2014 alone.
2015 will be a crucial year for Spotify, and not just in terms of whether the company can win over more of its critics among artists and songwriters. It will be facing growing competition from deep-pocketed rivals like Google and Apple, while also possibly going public with its long-anticipated IPO.
This article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Monday 12th January 2015 14.24 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010