Spotify said Thursday that it now serves more than 3 million active paid subscribers per month, up from the 2.5 million subscribers it was serving in November. More than 20% of its active users pay for premium monthly access, the Financial Times said, which allows users to listen to an unlimited songs without ads or use Spotify on a smartphone. “We have achieved some pretty great results in terms of the ratio of paid users,” Spotify’s chief content officer and US managing director, Ken Parks said in an interview with the Financial Times. “We have an enormous internal effort to drive conversion and engagement with the service. We are very focused on growing in our existing 12 markets as well as expanding in other markets.” Parks also said that the company’s free-trial offer has helped convert users to paid accounts more rapidly. Spotify recently introduced “apps” for its service, which allows anyone, such as Rolling Stone or Billboard, to create playlists or add custom features. More →
Federal prosecutors in Virginia have shut down notorious file-sharing site Megaupload.com and charged the service’s founders with violating piracy laws. The Associated Press broke the story on Thursday, reporting that the indictment accuses Megaupload.com’s owner with costing copyright holders including record labels and movie studios more than $500 million in lost revenue. Seven people tied to Megaupload.com have been charged and four are already in custody, including the site’s founder Kim Dotcom. Dotcom earned $42 million from the the site in 2010 according to the indictment. Megaupload.com allowed users to upload and share content without any measures in place to ensure files being hosted on the site’s servers were not protected by copyright. The company claims that it responded to copyright complaints as they were received. According to court documents made available on Thursday, Megaupload.com was at one point the 13th most trafficked website in the world. More →
Album sales in the United States jumped 3% during 2011 according to one report. That may seem like minor growth, but it is actually the first time album sales have increased since 2004. Nielsen SoundScan said Adele’s album “21” sold 5.8 million copies, and total sales came in at 458 million albums for the year. Make no mistake, however, CD sales are still on the decline. Sales of full digital albums climbed 20% to 103 million units but CD sales dropped 6% to 225 million units. Nielsen’s senior vice president of analytics Dave Bakula said the addition of Google’s music store in the Android Market also helped serve as a catalyst for digital music sales growth. “It shows there’s still a lot of growth potential in digital,” Bakula said. “That’s something I don’t see falling down.” More →
Apple on Monday released the 2012 edition of its “12 Days of Christmas” application for iOS devices. From December 26th through January 6th, Apple is giving away free iTunes content including songs, music videos, apps and books to iOS device owners. New content is accessible through the app each day and free downloads will expire after 24 hours. Monday kicks things off with several Coldplay songs and videos, which can be downloaded for free until new downloads are made available on Tuesday. Apple’s 12 Days of Christmas app is compatible with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2 and iPad as well as the third and fourth-generation iPod touch devices, so users of older iOS device models are out of luck this holiday season. The app is currently available in the U.K. with U.S. availability expected at a later point in time. More →
Rhapsody announced on Thursday that it now has more than 1 million paying subscribers in the United States. The company claims it is now the top pay-for music streaming company in the country, although we imagine Spotify is nipping at its heals now that it has more than 2.5 million subscribers globally. In celebration of the milestone, Rhapsody president Jon Irwin shaved his head, a promise he made to the company if it ever reached million subscribers. “We’ve accomplished quite a bit over the past decade, so it’s no small statement to say that 2011 was probably our biggest year yet,” Irwin said. It is quite a big achievement; one might have assumed Rhapsody’s user base would have declined with the influx of other pay-for music services such as Spotify, Slacker, Pandora, Rdio and others. “The next frontiers for subscription music are the living room and the car,” Irwin said. “Consumers will be able to enjoy Rhapsody from even more connected audio and video systems, as well as other platforms and distribution channels—at home, in the car and everywhere in-between, domestically and abroad.” Rhapsody’s full press release follows after the break.
Spotify announced on Wednesday that its BlackBerry client is now out of beta and officially available for download. Spotify is a free ad-supported desktop music service that allows its users to listen to any song they want, provided it has been licensed by Spotify. Users who want to take advantage of the service’s mobile features, which include offline caching and access to the full Spotify library, must pay a $10 monthly subscription fee. We’re fans of Spotify here at BGR so we highly recommend BlackBerry users give it a try. The download is free (remember, you’ll need a monthly plan to use it, though) and accessible from the BlackBerry App World now. The catch? You’ll need to own one of five BlackBerry models (BlackBerry Bold 9780, Bold 9700, Curve 9300, Bold 9000 or Curve 8520) in order to use the app, which means it looks like CDMA users are being left out in the cold for now.
Spotify on Friday unveiled Spotify Radio, a new service similar to Pandora that will roll out as an extension to the company’s desktop client. The service allows users to create artist-based stations that will stream an unlimited amount of music similar to the artist selected. Spotify Radio users can also skip an unlimited number of songs and save tracks as they play for on-demand listening later as well. The app and associated service are a welcome addition to Spotify, which has had very limited discovery features until now. The free Spotify Radio app is currently available as a preview and it is expected to land in Spotify’s app catalog within the next few days. Spotify has not indicated whether or not its new radio service will make its way to the company’s mobile apps. More →
Spotify’s New York City press conference just wrapped up and we spent some time checking out several of the popular music service’s new apps. There’s a new section on the left sidebar that lets you quickly access applications from LastFM, Rolling Stone, The Guardian and more. Rolling Stone and other publications will release playlists, some as frequently as each day, with bands the publications think Spotify users should take note of. The applications are seamless and are so tightly integrated with Spotify that they launch almost immediately. If you’re playing a song with tunewiki for example, simply tap the tunewiki application on the left sidebar and it immediately begins displaying song lyrics inside the software. We’re fans of Spotify here at BGR and we’re definitely looking forward to checking these features out a bit more when the app service officially goes live. Apps will be accessible to all users, whether they subscribe to Spotify’s premium services or not, and the beta should be made available today on Spotify’s website around 2:00 p.m. EST. Be sure to check out our full gallery below, and hit the break for a video from Spotify.More →
We’re live from Spotify’s New York City press conference where CEO and founder Daniel Ek took the stage to announce several new Spotify features, most notably applications. Ek confirmed that Spotify will launch a “truly integrated” application platform inside Spotify that will be “tailored to you and your user tastes.” Third party developers can easily build HTML5 apps using a simple API. The first generation of applications will be featured within the “Spotify platform.” Read on for more. More →
Spotify on Wednesday announced that it now has 2.5 million subscribers around the world paying for its service. The company has roughly 10 million paid and free listeners combined. Spotify’s recent launch in the U.S. is seen as having been a big boost for the company, and its Facebook integration is said to have bolstered new subscriptions as well. The company offers an on-demand music service that allows users to stream to unlimited ad-supported music to computers for free. Ads can be eliminated for a $4.99 monthly fee, and Spotify can be streamed to mobile devices as well for an addition $5 each month. More →
Amazon has been a leader in the eBook reader space since it first introduced the Kindle eReader in November 2007. At that point in time, the Kindle had a 6-inch E Ink display that supported just four shades of gray, it included 250MB of storage that could accommodate about 200 eBooks, and it retailed for $399. For the first six months or so, Amazon couldn’t keep the device in stock — it was a smash hit.
Spotify announced on Monday that it will hold a press conference on November 30th in New York City during which the company’s CEO Daniel Ek, and “special guests,” will discuss “what’s next” for the company. It’s entirely unclear what the event might cover, given the service only recently launched this summer in the United States. It is possible the Spotify will announce an iPad application, although that might be too minor an event to warrant a press conference. Perhaps the company will introduce a music store to go head-to-head with iTunes and Google Music, but we haven’t heard any rumors suggesting that might be a possibility.
More money is being spent purchasing music online than ever before according to a new report from Gartner. The firm’s data suggests that consumer spending on online music will reach $6.3 billion this year, up from $5.9 billion in 2010. “As consumers opt for connected devices — media tablets, smartphones and connected media players — across world regions, their desire for access to and consumption of music and content is growing as well,” Gartner research vice president Mike McGuire said. “The primary stakeholders in the music industry are facing wrenching changes and a somewhat uncertain future. However, the next four to five years portend solid growth.” Read on for more. More →