‘Important milestone:’ Streaming service Spotify hits 100 million paid user mark

(FILES) In this file photo illustration taken on April 19, 2018 shows the logo of online streaming music service Spotify displayed on a tablet screen in Paris. - Spotify has stealthily released an option to mute certain artists on its mobile app, a much-requested feature that comes amid calls to remove music from artists like R. Kelly over abuse allegations. The new button, first reported by tech news site Thurrott, allows users of the streaming service to prevent any artist from automatically playing by selecting "Don't play this artist" from a menu on the artist's page. The Sweden-based music company removed several artists including Kelly from its curated playlists last year, as outrage grew over sexual assault allegations against the R&B star, spawning the #MuteRKelly movement. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Music streaming service Spotify said Monday that its paying subscribers have reached 100 million for the first time, up 32% on the year and almost twice the latest figures for Apple Music.

The Stockholm-based company called the figure, which was reached during the first three months of 2019, “an important milestone.”

The growth was driven, among other things, by “a better-than-planned promotion in the U.S. and Canada.” Spotify said it had reached “the high end of our guidance range of 97-100 million.”

By comparison, archrival Apple Music had about 50 million paying subscribers at the end of 2018, the latest available figures. Apple is expected to release new figures with its earnings report on Tuesday.

The number of Spotify’s total monthly users, which includes those who do not pay a monthly subscription fee but use the service with intermittent ads, rose to 217 million in the first quarter.

The strong growth in its user base led to a 33% rise in revenue, to 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion). Yet like many tech companies focusing on building market share, the company continued to lose money, reporting an operating loss of 47 million euros.

Spotify says that voice speakers like Google Home and Alexa are a “critical area of growth” and is looking to invest more in podcasts to supplement its offering of music.

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