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Spotify announced today that it now has 140 million users, up from 100 million exactly a year ago.

The news comes just a few months after Spotify revealed that it now has 50 million paying subscribers. Historically, the music streaming giant has announced its paying / non-paying user figures in tandem, but it has recently taken to just announcing its paying members. In the past, roughly 25 percent of the company’s overall user base was paying members, but that figure has been edging closer to around a third, based on more recent announcements. Assuming Spotify has grown its paid user base by at least a couple of million since its last announcement in March, we can now say that roughly 37 percent of its listeners pay to use the service, a significant increase on its historical numbers.

Today’s news comes a week after Taylor Swift ended her three-year streaming feud with Spotify when she added her entire back catalog to the streaming service, though it’s not yet clear whether she plans to bring her new material to the service in the future. But one of her main issues with Spotify was that it offered a free tier that she felt devalued her music — Spotify countered by arguing that the free tier is necessary to get people on board.

Indeed, Spotify CEO and cofounder Daniel Ek has always maintained that the free ad-supported tier allowed the company to lure new users on board and then later try to entice them to pay. Around 80 percent of Spotify subscribers began as free users, Ek said in an interview back in 2015. And it looks like the company has been doing a decent job of increasing its paying-to-non-paying ratio since then.

Last year, Spotify acquired and shuttered Preact, a startup that uses behavioral science to predict customers’ activities around subscription sign-ups and upgrades, thus helping companies acquire and retain subscribers. It’s clear that Spotify has been doubling down on its efforts to convert free users — and the latest numbers indicate that its strategy is working, which is key as the company looks to bolster its non-advertising revenue while it prepares to go public in the very near future.


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