Spotify today shared its Q4 2018 earnings report, detailing a 36 percent growth in Spotify Premium subscribers from the year-ago quarter. Specifically, Spotify now has 96 million paid subscribers around the world as of the end of 2018, compared to Apple Music's over 50 million paid subscribers.
According to Spotify, there were a few factors that bumped up subscriber numbers in 2018, including a promotion where Family Plan account holders in the United States were able to claim a Google Home mini free of charge. The company also pointed towards its year-end "Spotify Wrapped" event as a major factor for its Q4 subscriber boost.
In December, we also launched our annual Wrapped Holiday brand campaign where existing users were able to explore stats about their listening habits throughout the year. The campaign saw the highest traffic ever to the Wrapped site spotifywrapped.com, with 28 million users visiting the site in just one week (up from 20 million last year total.)
The Holiday campaign became the #1 trending topic on Twitter globally and generated over 5 billion streams of the “Your Top Songs 2018” playlist, now the fastest growing personalized playlist in Spotify history.
In total, Spotify has grown to 207 million monthly active users (also counting those on its ad-supported tier), a growth of 29 percent year-over-year. Thanks to all of this, Spotify had major milestones in Q4 2018, reporting operating income, net income, and free cash flow as all positive, marking the first time that Spotify has operated at a profit in its history. The company said that operating expenses of €305 million were down by 17 percent compared to the year-ago quarter, resulting in an operating profit of €94 million.
Spotify today also announced that it has acquired two podcasting companies: Gimlet and Anchor. Spotify first announced its strong push into podcasts in July 2017, when a Bloomberg article claimed that the streaming music company was "coming after" Apple Podcasts. It has since added more and more podcasts into its catalog, and will now gain the advantages of the shows and technology offered by Gimlet and Anchor.
Gimlet is a content creation company that is the home to notable podcasts like Homecoming and Reply All (Homecoming was recently adapted into an Amazon Prime original series starring Julia Roberts). Anchor focuses more on the technical side of podcasts, offering users a place to record, host, distribute, and monetize their podcasts, with full analytics on each episode once they go live.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said that with the acquisitions, Spotify will focus on the curation and customization aspect of the service that it already uses for music streaming. "These acquisitions will meaningfully accelerate our path to becoming the world's leading audio platform, give users around the world access to the best podcast content, and improve the quality of our listening experience while enhancing the Spotify brand," Ek explained.