The music streaming juggernaut that is Spotify continues to gain momentum, although today was possibly more of a gentle acceleration than a turbo charge: today the company quietly launched its service live in Ireland and Luxembourg — two markets that may not be known for being music streaming powerhouses but are significant all the same for filling out the startup’s European footprint. (And, of course, Ireland has a huge music heritage, so is a feather for Spotify’s credibility cap.)
A spokesperson for the company tells me that neither launch had its own official announcement, but she has confirmed both countries went live today, taking the total number of countries on Spotify’s playlist to 17.
As with other country launches such as in Germany and the UK, Spotify is launching with some bundling with service providers to draw in more premium (paid) subscribers on top of the basic, ad-supported free service that it offers. In Luxembourg, subscribers to SFR’s mobile service are being offered Spotify Premium as part of mobile subscription packages that start at €29 per month. Apparently, the bundle offer on the Luxembourg site was posted in error and has now been removed.
Spotify does not have a partner lined up yet in Ireland for service bundling.
In both countries, without any bundling deals, Spotify is offering its “unlimited” tier at €4.99 ($6.30) per month (this includes unlimited music with no ads); and its “premium” tier at €9.99 ($12.60) per month (this includes also usage via its mobile apps, and offline playlists).
Spotify, as Eric noted this weekend, is having a bumper year so far. It’s generated revenues of $200 million in the first six months of this year, according to sources, and it is on track for revenues of $500 million for the full year, more than double the $244 million it made in 2011. It may still be generating a loss for this year of about $40 million, when you factor in royalty fees to labels, as well as engineering, marketing, sales and other operating costs. But that is still less than the $60 million operating loss in 2011.
The company is also doing battle against an increasingly bigger and more aggressive list of competitors, moving in for the kill just as market acceptance for streamed music (versus downloaded music) starts gaining critical mass. They include Deezer from France as well as Atomico-backed Rdio, and Pandora on the radio side of the story. (This list provides a good side-by-side comparison of three of these, Spotify, Rdio and Mog.)
Picking up more users, and subsequently more paying users, is crucial for Spotify on two levels: it needs this to go into the black on the balance sheet, and to build up a bulkhead against that competition. Hence, every little country that gets added to the Spotify list is another potential win for the company.
Spotify has created a lightweight software application that allows instant listening to specific tracks or albums with virtually no buffering delay. It was launched in the fall of 2008 and had approximately 10 million users by September 2010. Spotify offers streaming music from major and independent record labels including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group, and Universal. Users download Spotify and then log onto their service enabling the on-demand streaming of music. Music can be browsed by artist, album, record...