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Spotify Predicts It Will Eclipse 200 Million Paid Members Before End of Year

It has more than twice that many total listeners already, including people who listen free with ads.

Angela Lang/CNET

Spotify hit 456 million total listeners and 195 million paid subscribers at the end of September, the music streaming service said Tuesday in its third-quarter report, as it predicted its paying membership will surpass the 200 million milestone by the end of the year. 

Its 7 million new paying members is modestly better than expected: Analysts predicted Spotify to add 6.76 million new members, according to a survey by Refinitiv, which was slightly more optimistic than Spotify's guidance of 6 million. 

Spotify also said Tuesday that 456 million people now use its service at least once a month, including people who listen free with advertising. That's up 5% from the previous period and better than the company's July guidance for 450 million. 

The latest figures are the latest in the drumbeat to Spotify's dominance in subscription music worldwide. Apple Music, considered its closest competitor, doesn't routinely disclose its paid membership and hasn't offered an update in more than three years, obscuring just how big Spotify's lead may be. Back in June 2019, Apple said its service had 60 million subscribers. (According to music industry researcher MIDiA, Apple holds about 15% of the world's subscription music market; Spotify's share is more than double that.) 

Spotify, unlike Apple, has a free tier that lets anyone listen to music with advertising. Apple has never disclosed a monthly-active-user stat; almost all people who use Apple Music are subscribers. 

Looking ahead, Spotify predicted that it will have 202 million paid subscribers by the end of the year and that its monthly active users will increase to 479 million.

In the third quarter, Sweden-based Spotify reported a loss of 166 million euros ($163.6 million), or 99 cents a share. In the year-earlier period, Spotify reported a narrow profit of 2 million euros, but on a per-share basis, it reported a loss of 41 cents a year earlier. Analysts expected an 83 cent loss on 3.017 billion in revenue. 

Revenue rose 21% to 3.036 billion euros in the quarter.

Spotify shares were down 4.2% at $93 in after-market trading Tuesday.