Why Spotify’s 1 million paying subscribers is an amazing feat

SpotifyThis week, Spotify announced that it’s reached a big milestone: One million paying subscribers (out of a total of nearly 7 million active users). With this, it’s the largest music subscription service outside of Asia (apparently a South Korean service called Melon holds the top spot, according to FT.com).

That becomes even more impressive if you take into account that Spotify only launched two years ago and is available in just seven countries: the United Kingdom, Sweden (Spotify was founded by Swedes), Norway, Finland, France, Spain and the Netherlands.

To see just how geographically concentrated Spotify’s current user base is, take a look at this world map showing Google search volume for “Spotify” (including popular variations like “Spotify download” and similar terms) during the past 12 months.

Regional interest in Spotify

That map says it all. Spotify really is just getting started, and in a very limited territory at that. So far, the service has been taking baby steps compared to what might lie ahead.

Here’s a different view of the regional breakdown of the countries where Spotify is available, based on the same data as the map. Just to make it easier to see the proportions.

Regional interest in Spotify

Note, this is all normalized data, i.e. it’s adjusted by the size of the countries (or some similar criteria, like the total number of searches in a country), so this doesn’t necessarily mean that most of Spotify’s users are in Sweden.

What’s clear is that in a relatively small market, Spotify has managed to get a million paying subscribers (plus millions of ad-funded free users) in a very short time.

Now imagine Spotify finally gaining access to the United States, the largest paying music market in the world, and making a similar splash there. It could be a game changer.

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