Streaming music service Spotify is not confirming the reports today about its latest funding round, but it’s putting out some of its own news: the company today announced that it now has 20 million paying users, and 75 million overall.
It also updated its numbers revealing how much it’s paying out to artists from streams on its platform to $3 billion to date, with $300 million in the first three months of 2015. The update on royalties is timely considering the antitrust investigation currently hanging over Apple Music in the U.S., which alleges that the iPhone maker is colluding with record labels on pricing.
Spotify has in the past been slammed by artists like Taylor Swift and Thom Yorke over how much musicians make on the freemium platform. It’s been fighting back on perceptions of being bad for business for a while now.
As a point of comparison on growth, a year ago, Spotify had 10 million paying users and 40 million active subscribers. In other words, both are growing, and Spotify is mostly holding steady in the proportion of free to paid users. It’s now at 26 percent, compared to 25 percent a year ago.
Spotify’s publicity onslaught comes in the wake of Apple announcing a direct competitor called Apple Music. Many have been wondering if Apple Music will kill off, or at least significantly hurt, Spotify.
So right now, it’s in Spotify’s interest to position itself as strong enough to weather the blow. Earlier today, news leaked out (quite deliberately perhaps) that the company has closed a $526 million funding round. Now, Spotify itself is showing off growing numbers and artist revenues.
“As we grow, the amount of royalties we pay out to artists, songwriters and rights holders continues to climb faster than ever,” the company writes in a blog post. “We have now paid more than $3 billion USD in royalties, including more than $300 million in the first three months of 2015 alone.”
The company has also posted a video taking us through why Spotify thinks its business model is the best. “There’s a lot of static out there about ‘free music,'” the narrator starts out snarkily. Unfortunately, the rest devolves into a pretty pedantic explanation of what streaming, freemium services, and piracy are, and why Spotify thinks its approach works best. Roll on, music wars.