According to Spotify's recent financial results, the music and podcast streaming company now has 108 million paying subscribers at theend of the second quarter of 2019. This is an 8 million increase from the first quarter where it reported it had 100 million premium subscribers.

Spotify also reported that it has 232 million total Monthly Active Users (MAUs), a 29% increase as compared to the previous financial year during the same period.

"Total MAUs grew 29% Y/Y to 232 million, outperforming the high end of our 222-228 million MAU guidance range. Outperformance was broad based, with most of our geographic regions growing faster than our expectations. Timing of certain global music releases yielded some incremental benefit, as did our launch on PlayStation consoles across the Middle East and Latin America. Of note, two markets that have been long tied to physical music distribution, Germany and Japan, both hit milestones during Q2, performing materially better than forecast. Additionally, our newest market India performed well and in line with expectations. However, the most significant source of upside has been improvement in long-term retention due to our continued product innovation, particularly evident in our emerging geographies."

Source: Spotify Technologies

Africa still low on music streaming uptake

Looking at the financial results, it is interesting to note that the uptake of music streaming across Africa (based on Spotify's numbers) is still low. Although Spotify bundles the Africa and Asia users when reporting, the number of users in the "Rest of the World" category still comes short of the North America and Europe numbers.

Total Monthly Active Users (MAUs). Source: Spotify Technologies

More interestingly, Africa and Asia user numbers also come short of the Latin America numbers. This undoubtedly affects the income that African music artists, who are mostly known in their respective countries and not in Europe or North America, don't earn much from Spotify (the world's largest music streaming service) and other similar services, with the possible exception of YouTube.

Spotify also noted that it had reached an agreement with two of their four major label partners on the renewal of global sound recording licenses, and are in active discussions with the other two.

"This is the sixth round of label negotiations we’ve worked through in our thirteen year history and, while it is typically a long drawn-out process, it has become part of the normal cadence of the business."

Podcasts on the rise

What has been interesting yet not surprising is how Spotify has started investing millions of dollars into podcasting. As an indicator, the company reports that their podcast audience grew 50% from the first quarter.

The growth can be attributed to both the continued development of Spotify for Podcasters and the company's acquisition of exclusive and original podcasts. One of those deals is with former American President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production Company, Higher Ground, to produce exclusive content for Spotify.

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