NEW YORK -- Spotify now has 5 million paid subscribers around the world, a number that includes 1 million U.S. customers, the company said today. It has 20 million active users worldwide, said CEO Daniel Ek.
At a press event here, Ek said that the company hit 1 million U.S. paid subscribers in a year when it took others a decade to accumulate that amount. That seemed like a thinly veiled shot at Rhapsody, one of the oldest music subscription services.
Among the news items from the event: Metallica announced that all its music is now available on Spotify.
"We were ready to jump in as soon as they were ready," Metallica's Lars Ulrich said. Ulrich, of course, is the drummer who went on the warpath against Napster when the iconic file-sharing service debuted more than a decade ago. He joined Sean Parker, one of Spotify's advisers and investors on stage, the first time the former adversaries have been seen together in public.
Ek said that Spotify has paid $500 million to artists so far, including $250 million in the last nine months.
Spotify also introduced a new "Follow" tab, which gives users music recommendations from trusted sources, shows Facebook friends and recommends the music choices of friends, artists and others. As with the Twitter follow function, users can see who they follow and who follows them.
A new Discover feed finds the most relevant music, such as new releases and playlists from sources a user follows, as well as recommendations based on listening history.