Spotify is a Swedish-based audio streaming and media services provider, launched in October 2008. The platform is owned by Spotify AB, a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange since 2018 through its holding company Spotify Technology S.A.. Spotify's global headquarters are in Stockholm, Sweden.
Spotify offers digital copyright restricted recorded music and podcasts, including more than 60 million songs, from record labels and media companies. As a freemium service, basic features are free with advertisements and limited control, while additional features, such as offline listening and commercial-free listening, are offered via paid subscriptions. Users can search for music based on artist, album, or genre, and can create, edit, and share playlists.
Spotify is available in most of Europe and the Americas, Oceania, and parts of Africa and Asia, and on most modern devices, including Windows, macOS, and Linux computers, and iOS, and Android smartphones and tablets and AI enabled smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa. As of October 2020, the platform has 320 million monthly active users, including 144 million paying subscribers.
Unlike physical or download sales, which pay artists a fixed price per song or album sold, Spotify pays royalties based on the number of artist streams as a proportion of total songs streamed. It distributes approximately 70% of its total revenue to rights holders (often record labels), who then pay artists based on individual agreements. Spotify has faced criticism from artists and producers including Taylor Swift and Thom Yorke, who have argued that it does not compensate musicians fairly. In 2017, as part of its efforts to renegotiate license deals for an interest in going public, Spotify announced that artists would be able to make albums temporarily exclusive to paid subscribers if the albums are part of Universal Music Group or the Merlin Network.