Web Trends: Listen To Spotify's Most Played Song Of 2011
Web Trends: Listen To Spotify's Most Played Song Of 2011

Spotify Rising, Now at 10.2 Million Monthly Average Users
-- Spotify has added about 2.5 million global monthly average users (MAU) in the last month, according to figures available at AppData.com. On Tuesday Spotify's MAU stood at 10.2 million. That represents a jump of roughly 32 percent from 7.7 million on November 14. AppData.com does not break out the number of paying versus free users.

Spotify's growth rate has quickened recently. Back on August 4, Billboard.biz noted Spotify had 2.9 million MAU (that was before Facebook login was mandatory). The figure jumped to 5 million by the end of September. As previously noted, MAU jumped to 7.7 million on November 14 and then to 10.2 million on December 13.

Put another way, Spotify has added its last 2.5 million MAU in far less time than the previous 2.7 million MAU. November 14 and December 13 are 29 days apart - during which Spotify added 2.5 million MAU. The service took 46 days - September 29 to November 14 - to add 2.7 million MAU. Its MAU increased 2.1 million over the previous 56 days (new users required to log in via Facebook on just the last few of those days).

If Spotify holds its current pace, it will surpass 20 million MAU somewhere in early April. That doesn't seem like too much of a stretch. It should be able to hit at least 15 million MAU by then. Subscription services should benefit from holiday-related mobile, tablet and PC purchases. And Spotify's open API initiatives and improved radio functions will help lure new users and keep the media closely following its every move.

This should help adoption: Just in time for Christmas, Spotify is giving new users a free, 30-day trial of its premium level of service. That will probably help growth in both users (it will attract new people to the service) as paid subscribers (some people will become paying customers after the free trial is over). Like most free trials, this one requires the entry of payment information. The offer is not open to people who have previously been a premium user. ( Spotify blog)

Louis CK: DIY Poster Boy - Sort Of …

-- Louis CK's direct-to-fan offering, mentioned in yesterday's Business Matters, is doing quite well, according to numbers posted Tuesday by the comedian/actor.

"As of Today (Tuesday, December 13) we've sold over 110,000 copies for a total of over $500,000. Minus some money for PayPal charges etc, I have a profit around $200,000 (after taxes $75.58). This is less than I would have been paid by a large company to simply perform the show and let them sell it to you, but they would have charged you about $20 for the video."

And that's just four days into the sale.

Don't be misled by this DIY success. This isn't a case of a long tail title going mainstream. This is similar to Radiohead or Nine Inch Nails self-distributing a release. Louis CK is a well-known actor and comedian with a television series ("Louie" on FX). He's comedy's equivalent to a major-label artist who has decided to self-finance a self-release.

What CK's direct-to-fan offering really shows is the value of good content. "Live at the Beacon Theater" isn't a smartphone recording posted to YouTube. (In fact, YouTube has 5,040 results for a Louis CK search, 61 of which are at CK's own channel.) This is a premium production that CK says had six cameras and cost $170,000. The development of the website was another $32,000 (to ensure "a simple, optimal and humane experience for buying the video").

Bottom line: that old line "nobody buys digital content any more" should be neither bought nor sold. Not only will people buy digital downloads, they'll buy comedy videos when they're good quality, priced right and done with the fan in mind. (LouisCK.net, via NY Mag)

Video Game Consoles Actually Are a Good Distribution Point for Streaming Music, Video
-- Video game consoles are increasingly a distribution point for streaming music and video, but are people putting down the games long enough to watch and listen? Yes, say new numbers from an October 2011 study by Nielsen.

That's good news for music and video services aiming for the digital living room. iHeartRadio and Last.fm are available through the Xbox and Vevo will be soon. Sony's Music Unlimited subscription service is available through the Sony PlayStation 3 device. Music services are definitely in the early days of connected TVs and devices (Xbox, PlayStation 3, Apple TV, Roku, etc.) but there's a good amount of growth here and the digital living will be an important part of the multi-platform, cloud-based music services of the future.

Video does quite a bit better than audio, but that makes sense given the number of video options - mainly Netflix. The percent of time spent watching video ranges from 14 percent for Xbox users to 33 percent for Wii users. Those figures are up from 10 percent and 20 percent in 2010, respectively.

Music, which is grouped with Internet use and "other," falls in the 4- to 5-percent range and is down sharply from 11 percent last year (Nielsen does not indicate which segments are responsible for the decline). Time spent watching DVDs and Blu-rays on video game consoles dropped this year: to 9 percent from 11 percent for Xbox users and to 22 percent from 27 percent for PlayStation users (Nielsen did not have data on Wii users). ( NielsenWire)