Spotify is a music, #podcast, and video streaming service, officially launched on 7 October 2008. It is developed by startup Spotify AB in Stockholm, Sweden. It provides digital rights management-protected content from record labels and #media companies. Spotify is a freemium service, meaning that basic features are free with advertisements, while additional features, including improved streaming quality and offline music downloads, are offered via paid subscriptions.
Spotify is available in most of Europe, most of the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and parts of Asia. It is available for most modern devices, including Windows, macOS, and Linux computers, as well as iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. Music can be browsed or searched for via various parameters, such as artist, album, genre, playlist, or record label. Users can create, edit and share playlists, share tracks on social media, and make playlists with other users. Spotify provides access to over 30 million songs. As of June 2017, it has over 140 million monthly active users, and as of March 2017, it has over 50 million paying subscribers.
Unlike physical or download sales, which pay artists a fixed price per song or album sold, Spotify pays royalties based on the number of artists’ streams as a proportion of total songs streamed on the service. They distribute approximately 70% of total revenue to rights holders, who then pay artists based on their individual agreements. Spotify has faced criticism from artists and producers including Taylor Swift and Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, who feel it does not fairly compensate music creators as music sales decline and streaming increases. In April 2017, as part of its efforts to renegotiate new license deals with record labels for a reported interest in going public, Spotify announced that artists who are part of Universal Music Group and Merlin Network will have the ability to make their new album releases exclusively available on the service’s Premium service tier for a maximum of two weeks.