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Audio streaming giant Spotify passes 500 million active users

Swedish audio streaming giant Spotify reports that it had 515 million active monthly users as of the end of March, beating expectations, but its operating loss has deepened.

The Swedish company also saw the number of paying subscribers grow to 210 million, it said on Tuesday.

Analysts queried by Factset had, on average, expected Spotify’s total active monthly users to reach about 501 million and paying subscribers to hit 207 million.

Spotify said in a statement that it had posted its “strongest” first quarter “since going public in 2018” with nearly all performance indicators “surpassing expectations”.

But the company also posted a first-quarter operating loss of 156 million euros ($172m), compared with an operating loss of 6 million euros ($6.6m) a year earlier.

“There’s still a kind of a lot of macro choppiness in Q1 so that impacts us a little bit,” CEO Daniel Ek told Reuters.

In January, following similar moves by other tech industry giants, the streaming company announced it was cutting about 600 jobs from a workforce of 10,000. Its operating expenses increased due to severance-related charges.

Boosted by the growing number of users, revenue – of which the majority comes from paying subscribers – grew 14 percent to 3 billion euros ($3.3bn).

But this fell short of analysts expectations of 3.4 billion euros ($3.7bn).

The platform has only occasionally posted a quarterly profit since its launch and has regularly posted annual losses despite strong subscriber growth and having had a head start on its rivals, such as Apple Music and Amazon Music.

For the whole of 2022, it posted a net loss of 430 million euros ($474m), compared with a loss of 34 million euros ($37.5m) in 2021.

Spotify has also invested more than 1 billion euros ($1.1bn) into podcasting in recent years, but analysts say the company has yet to prove the investment is bearing fruit.

Its venture into podcasts has also been a source of controversy with US star Joe Rogan accused of spreading misinformation on his shows. Al Jazeera

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