(Bill Werde — @bwerde; http://billwerde.tumblr.com/ — is Billboard’s editorial director)
In my travels last night and in emails this morning I had three distinct label/publisher execs confirm the same number: that @Spotify has right in the ballpark of 70,000 paid Stateside subscribers after only one week in business. It’s hard to put these numbers into context, but it would also be hard to call that anything but positive news for Spotify.
It’s hard to put into context because the larger subscription services like Napster and Rhapsody, which have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, launched years ago – not only is first-week data unavailable, but it would have come at a very different time in the history of digital music and the web overall. Rhapsody now has 800,000 paying customers and Napster reported 761,000 subscribers in its last quarterly filing before it was acquired by Best Buy in 2008. But obviously it took those two services years to reach those figures.
Probably better for context? This July 7 Billboard.biz story showing each of the new crop of Spotify competitors at 100k or less. I quote:
“In just six months, the Muve mobile music service from pre-paid wireless operator Cricket has done what year-old music services like MOG and Rdio have yet to do: reach 100,000 users. The company released the data today.”
Obviously, this is just the first data point for Spotify. We’ll need a handful more, at least, before there’s any clear trend or projection. But in the early going, at least, it seems like a pretty good start for the much-discussed service.
UPDATE: I emailed Daniel Ek and his VP of Marketing Angela Watts got back to me. She said they couldn’t comment on numbers but offered this:
“The launch of Spotify in the US has exceeded our expectations in both the response to invitations for the free service as well as subscriptions. We aren’t going to discuss numbers at this stage but we are excited to be here and confident that Americans will love Spotify as much as they already do in Europe.”