The other day we reported on a Twitter exchange between Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek and analyst Mark Mulligan where the former queried just how the latter arrived at the number of users he believed are on ad-supported music services in a recent MIDiA Research report. Now Mulligan has blogged in detail about the numbers and also issues of validating research in general. It is quite a lengthy piece that covers just how “active” active users are and why there needs to be both quantitative and qualitative distinctions here, how music consumption/engagement on YouTube is different to how it is on Spotify and why it has to be counted differently as a result, and why the digital music business must “focus on audience first and revenue second.” It is easy to waft a hand at this as the modern version of medieval monks counting angels dancing on pinheads, but it’s a fascinating debate about the validity of statistics in an age when the industry is awash with real-time data and needs to properly critique and understand that data before it acts on it. Over to you, Daniel.

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