Yesterday was a busy day for Spotify as the streaming service announced updated customer numbers, before CEO Daniel Ek gave a keynote interview at the SXSW conference in Austin.
The numbers: 24m active users and 6m paying subscribers, up by 4m and 1m respectively since early December 2012, and maintaining Spotify’s 25% conversion rate.
As CNET notes, with 90% of subscribers on the highest $9.99 premium tier, Spotify’s current annual run-rate for subscriptions is thus around $684m – which with a bit more growth would tally with Ek’s previous claims that the 70% of revenues his company pays to rightsholders is on track to pass $500m in 2013 alone.
There were no bombshells in Ek’s interview, with his response to questioning about the threat posed by Apple and Google’s streaming plans predictably measured.
“Unlike everyone else you might read about like Google and Apple — they have tons of businesses that they want to be in. For us that’s our business, we don’t have anything else… We wake up, eat, sleep thinking about this, and these bigger companies don’t.”
Ek’s response to a question about artist payouts stayed on the party line (in short: $500m this year, labels pay artists not Spotify, scale will be the key), but his comments on connected devices were interesting.
“If you’re a business now and you’re only on the PC, you’re going to have some serious problems,” he said. “It’s not just about mobile. The way we look at it, it’s about connective devices: TVs, cars, refrigerators…”
Interesting? Because if there’s one thing Spotify needs to do better in 2013 and beyond, it’s not just being on these other devices, but pivoting its strategy to a more device-first approach, where new features roll out across platforms rather than staying desktop-only for months.
Ek told the SXSW audience that “more than half” of Spotify users are already mobile, and that this could rise to 70% in the next year. Judging by his “serious problems” comments, Spotify may be focusing more sharply on these users’ needs.