Global audio-streaming giant Spotify reached 271 million monthly active users (MAUs) at the end of 2019, registering a growth of 31 percent over a year ago. Of this, Spotify Premium subscribers stood at 124 million, growing at 29 percent year on year.
The biggest gain was witnessed in the podcasts category.
More than 16 percent of Spotify’s MAUs now engage with podcast content, and consumption hours have shot up 200 percent year on year. The platform stocks more than 700,000 podcasts at present.
To tap into the rising wave of podcasts, Spotify released 26 shows in markets outside the US in Q4 2019. These also included its first original podcasts in India – 22 Yarns by Gaurav Kapur, Love Aaj Kal, and Bhaskar Bose.
In a letter to shareholders on Wednesday, Spotify said:
"We continue to see exponential growth in podcast hours streamed and are now seeing clear indications that podcast usage is driving increased overall engagement and retention. We have seen early indications that our investments in podcasts are having a positive impact on conversion of free to paid users."
On the revenue front, the Swedish company registered a 24 percent growth touching €1,855 million in Q4. Only 11.7 percent of this was ad revenue, while the remaining came from premium subscribers.
Total MAUs are projected to increase to about 325 million. "With three consecutive quarters of accelerating MAU growth and another year of record net subscriber additions behind us, we are enthusiastic about the underlying trends in the business," the company said.
Spotify, however, expects paid subscriber growth to slow down in 2020.
"While we believe these trends will continue moving forward, we have been appropriately conservative regarding our 2020 guidance as our data, particularly around the benefits from podcasts, is still reasonably new," it said.
In India, Spotify is estimated to have garnered two to three million users within a year of launch. "In more mature markets, we are investing in the creation of original podcast content through our in-house unit Spotify Studios. India is still young when it comes to non-music audio content, but given the current consumption trends, the country could play a big part in this global opportunity in the coming years," Spotify India MD Amarjit Singh Batra had told YourStory in a prior interaction.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)