By Alex Pham
12:28 PM EDT, August 1, 2012
Spotify, the popular digital music service, said it now has 15 million active users worldwide, 4 million of whom pay a monthly fee for the premium version.
This week marked the first time Spotify had updated its subscriber figures since last year, when the Swedish company announced it had 7 million free users and 3 million paying customers.
The new figures, disclosed by Chief Content Officer Ken Parks in a speech at the Global Business Summit on Creative Content in London, coincide with the company's release of a free streaming radio service for Android devices.
Spotify, which launched its service in the U.S. a year ago, has not broken out its subscriber figures by country. In Europe, Spotify has restricted free users to 20 hours of listening a month and limits free playback of any single song to five spins. But in the U.S., the service remains entirely free for users who fire up the song from a laptop or other computer.
Those wanting to use Spotify on mobile devices, such as iPads, iPhones and Android phones, must pay $9.99 a month after brief free trial periods ranging from 48 hours to 30 days.
Because many of those trials fail to convert to paying users, Spotify recently added a free streaming radio service for iPad and iPhone users to keep them engaged in the service and, ideally, become paying customers.
Streaming radio, on which listeners can't choose exactly which songs they hear next, differs from on-demand services, on which users are at any time able to listen to any song in Spotify's catalog of more than 15 million tracks.
"Previous to radio, our free users could only use it for 48 hours, then they couldn’t use it anymore," said Donovan Sung, a Spotify product manager. "Now with unlimited free radio, those users can stick around."
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