Spotify sent the world a reminder this morning: It is the dominant force worldwide in paid-subscription-based streaming music.
The Swedish company announced that it has reached 10 million users who pay around $10 a month for unlimited access to music, up from 6 million last March. The most-streamed artist in the history of the service is the US rapper Eminem, the service announced, and the most-streamed song is last year's "Wake Me Up," by Swedish DJ and music producer Avicii, which has been streamed 235 million times.
Spotify's 10 million paying users make the service about 100 times the size of Beats Music, based on recent media reports. (Apple is reportedly getting hold of Beats Music as part of a $3.2 billion deal to buy Beats Electronics, although that transaction has not yet been confirmed.)
Spotify did not disclose its total registered user base (including non-paying users), but said it has 40 million active users in 56 markets worldwide. That is below Pandora Media, which at last count had 76 million monthly active users (in the US, Australia and New Zealand) and surpassed 250 million registered users earlier this year. But the two services are different: Pandora is more radio-like, in that it doesn't give you the ability to play back songs, create playlists and listen offline, as Spotify does. Its premium paid subscription product allows users to avoid advertising, but it only had around 3.3 million subscribers as of March.
There are signs that Spotify is beginning to flex its muscles with artists, using more assertive tactics to convince holdouts to offer their music on the service. This week it emerged that the service shows users seeking songs that are not available a message that blames artists directly for withholding their music.
Yet for all of Spotify's growth, the company is not yet profitable, and it has yet to crack the mainstream market in the US and elsewhere. The single biggest destination for music listening online remains YouTube.