Spotify pays $500m to artists as it announces subscriber rise

SPOTIFY, the popular music streaming service, has paid out more than $500m (£312m) to artists since it launched four years ago, the company’s founder Daniel Ek said yesterday.

The service, which has been criticised by some artists for paying tiny royalties, has paid out half of that money in the last nine months, as Spotify picks up momentum, Ek said.

At an event in New York to announce a new range of features for the lossmaking service, Ek also announced that Spotify has more than 5m paying subscribers, and more than 20m overall.

Spotify’s rise has accompanied a downward trend in physical sales. Although music streaming still makes up a tiny part of industry revenue, it will grow by 40 per cent this year as physical sales drop 12 per cent, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

Spotify, which Ek claims is adding 10-20,000 songs a day to its catalogue, yesterday achieved a huge coup by signing up legendary rock group Metallica.

It also announced a revamp to the service which Ek said would improve the way people find new music.

The company, which has not been profitable since it launched, was valued at $3bn in a recent fundraising round.