The State of Music Monetization

Who’s paying for what? We’ve been getting hit with a lot of subscriber updates here and there, including a few at MidemNet this weekend. So here’s the latest monetization intelligence, please share if we’ve missed something!


  • Paying Subscribers: 750,000 (per Spotify, shared immediately after Sony (NYSE: SNE) Music US signing this month.)
  • Subscriber Mix: 90% paying full premiums (source: Digital Music News, citing European partner sources late last year)
  • Royalty Payouts43 million ($58.5 million) in 2010 (source: Spotify, shared with this month).


  • Paying Subscribers: 750,000 (per Rhapsody president John Irwin, January 20th).
  • Of note: Increase of 100,000 since April, 2010; RNWK estimates broader US music subscription market at 1.5 million).


Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) UK

  • 100,000 paying music subscribers (per Vodafone content services director Lee Epting at MidemNet 2011).
  • Of note: Global goal is 1 million by 2012.

Sirius XM (NSDQ: SIRI) Radio

  • Paying Subscribers: 20 million+ (per company, threshold accomplished December, 2010)
  • Monthly Subscription Cost: $12.95 (or higher)

Nokia’s Comes With Music


  • Financial Status: Profitable (as of late-2009, per CEO Tim Westergren)
  • Registered users: 65 million (per Westergren, October 2010)
  • Active users: 25 million (in September, 2010), average monthly sessions at 11 hours.


  • Paying Subscribers: Company will not disclose to Digital Music News.  No other sources or information at present.


  • Paying Subscribers: More than 200,000 paying $4-5 monthly (source: Slacker, to Digital Music News late last year)


  • Paid Song Downloads: 10 billion, cumulative since mid-2003 (source: Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), reported February, 2010)
  • Broader Story: In the US, a-la-carte downloads gained a modest 1 percent to 1.172 billion, per Nielsen Soundscan.  Digital albums gained 13 percent to 86.3 million.  The global picture appears more healthy, though also primed for plateau.


  • Paying Subscribers: 400,000 (per eMusic to Digital Music News, November 15th).
  • Of note: Zero growth since 2007.