Spotify reportedly up to 39M subs, still not interested in exclusives

Troy Carter canvasOne of Spotify’s latest hires announced that the streaming service now has 39 million paid subscribers. Troy Carter, global head of creator services, told Billboard that Spotify has added 9 million paying customers since the last audience update in March.

The interview also touched on the streaming sector’s current race for exclusive releases. When Carter joined the team, many expected that he’d be leveraging his industry connections as an artist manager and the founder/CEO of Atom Factory to help Spotify be competitive with the relationships being built at Apple Music and Tidal. It seems that’s not his focus, though.

“Exclusives are bad for artists, bad for consumers and bad for the whole industry,” Carter said. While proponents of the strategy say exclusives give artists control and better revenue, critics like Carter say fans are more likely to look to piracy or torrents rather than subscribing to a second or third streaming platform.

“I was brought onboard to strengthen the bridge between Spotify and the music community,” he said. “That goes beyond distribution. We can become a full-stack solution for artists.”

Anna Washenko


  1. It’s good they don’t want exclusives, because Universal has already stated they won’t allow their artists to provide exclusives to streaming companies. Other labels won’t be far behind.

  2. Speaking of exclusives, I hate when the labels have different bonus tracks to purchase at multiple vendors, trying to con you into buying the album multiple times.

  3. lol @ anyone fooled by this. streaming players smell blood in the water and are investing heavily to push labels out of the equation asap. that includes spotify.

  4. That Carter guy is quite right that some fans will turn to piracy or torrents rather than subscribing.

    • Precisely! To paraphrase what he said in the Billboard article, cost is the reason why most users can’t to subscribe to more than one streaming service.

      • Cost is why I use You Tube. Can’t afford to spend $100 per year on occasional streaming.

        • Music labels don’t understand the real value of music.


    • It’s like I said above regarding how the greedy labels do with bonus material on albums. Fans that want bonus material but can’t afford to get it at multiple vendors are going turn to piracy to get it.

  5. What people can afford is often more a function of opportunity. If you can hear music for free, then you can’t afford to pay for it. Because free is obviously better than the alternative. But money doesn’t stop those same people from paying money for expensive phone plans, expensive video plans, fast food for lunch rather than brown bagging it, designer clothes, destination vacations, etc. The point is that people once thought nothing about spending a few hundred dollars a year on music, and instead divert that money for designer clothes or something else. Maybe some spend the money they used to spend on CDs for tickets to concerts. I see some doing that. In other words, they pay for things they HAVE to pay for, and don’t pay for things they can get for free. But it has nothing to do with the VALUE of that product. The record labels aren’t any greedier than the phone companies or the cable companies. Just that with them, you have no choice.

    • You’ve obviously never had to live on a tight budget, struggling with costly medical bills, etc.

      • Precisely Rustbelt! Many middle class Americans are struggling due to stagnant wages, etc. more so than due to wasting on luxuries (designer clothes, expensive phone plans, destination vacations, etc.)

        • Amen to that Rustbelt and Soft Rock Chick! He’s like Romney and other Teapublicans, falsely accusing poor people of being “smoochers”.

          • Easy does it. Don’t get personal with your comments here. TheBigA was not accusing anybody of anything. He was explaining a market dynamic that he has broadly observed — the difference between availability and value.

      • Nope. Not true. You obviously are paying for internet, and I’m sure you have a cell phone. How about cable TV? Why is music companies greedy and internet companies not? It’s a choice you make.

        • Cell phone – I use a pre-paid cell phone. Don’t have to deal with any expensive plans.

        • Pretty much, Soft Rock Chick is explaining that she’s frugal regarding money.

          • In these tough economic times, being frugal is a wise idea.

          • Still, why are record labels greedy, and everyone else isn’t? Record labels are doing their jobs, just like phone, cable, and internet providers.

            Tough economic times aren’t new. They had this thing called The Depression in the 1930s. People still bought records then. There was no streaming, and radio stations weren’t allowed to play recorded music. The musicians union prevented it. So people had no choice. As I said, when people have a choice, they pay for what they HAVE to pay for. It has nothing to do with the economy.

          • Some of us here were Bernie Sanders supporters. We know each other from various political blogs as well as various entertainment blogs. Like him, we’re anti-Wall Street and we see how America is turning into an oligarchy.

          • Phone, cable, and internet providers are greedy too. They nickel and dime you to death. Many people get sick of that and wind up doing like Soft Rock Chick, looking for cheaper alternatives.

          • He obviously must not have been affected by the recent recession.

          • The fact is, there is anti-global corporatization anger out there. People are increasingly getting fed up with big business.

  6. I’ve bumped into several of them on various music blogs. There’s an attitude, especially amongst indie fans, of being anti-major label/anti-mainstream.

  7. Lots of articles about indie music

    such as this one: noisey(dot)vice(dot)com/blog/are-major-labels-broken-azealia-banks-mia-childish-gambino-20

    have shown us that the major labels aren’t the be all, end all in the music world anymore.

    • I don’t know that anyone is saying major labels are the “be all, end all.” I don’t think they ever were. Lots of small indie labels. Indie labels have been around for a hundred years. The question is why someone would record music at all if their fans want it for free. That’s not a major or indie issue. It’s simply about getting paid for their work. If you use a product, you should pay for it.

      • When you like multiple artists and one has an exclusive on Apple and another has an exclusive on Amazon and yet another has an exclusive on Google, are you going to pay for all the services or just pay for one service?

  8. Someone mentioned in some previous comments that streaming pricing is not aligned with consumer music spending. I quite agree with that.


    ◾Super fan aficionados tend to spend between $10 and $30 a month but many are now shifting down to $9.99 a month
    ◾Mainstream music fans spend less frequently and at best average less than $10 a month, most typically just a few $. $9.99 is just too much for them as is regular spending, so they end up streaming for free
    ◾Passive fans used to spend occasionally now typically spend nothing and are core users of free streaming, You Tube especially

    There are a number of tactics that will set up streaming to capitalize on the mainstream music fan opportunity:
    1.More price tier differentiation: this means cheaper tiers ($2, $3, $5) to capture spending across a broad a range of consumers as possible
    2.Reduce the main $9.99 price point to $7.99: to capture the upper band of mainstream fans, while adding a $12.99 tier for super fan aficionados who want extras like high quality audio, bios, photos, exclusives etc.
    3.Introduce PAYG / Top Ups: the mobile phone business needed PAYG to take phone subscriptions to the mainstream – they were an unfamiliar concept consumers needed to experience to understand the value of. The same applies to music. But also it gives tentative consumers the benefit of the long term relationship without the commitment.

    Virtually every consumer market, whether it is phones, supermarkets or cars has a segmented pricing strategy. Streaming needs to use the same approach.

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