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Swedish startup Spotify was created on April 23, 2006, by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon as a platform for advertising streaming and media services. At the end of September 2021, it'll be the world's biggest music service provider, with more than 381 million monthly active users, including 172 million paying members. Spotify is traded on the New York Stock Exchange in the form of American depositary receipts (which are issued by a Luxembourg-based holding company, Spotify Technology S.A.).

From record labels and media firms, Spotify provides digitally copyright limited recorded music and podcasts, containing more than 70 million songs. When using a freemium service, the bare minimum of capabilities is provided for free in exchange for commercials and limited control; other features, like as offline playback and commercial-free listening, are only available via paid subscriptions. As of October 2021, Spotify will be accessible in more than 180 countries. Artists, albums, and genres may be searched for by users, and playlists can be created, edited, and shared.

Across addition to most of Europe and the Americas, Oceania and more than 40 African nations (including South Africa and Mauritius) as of July 2021 (including South Africa and Mauritius), Spotify is accessible in Asia and the Pacific. According to projections, Spotify will be available in 178 countries by the end of 2021. Currently, the service is accessible on most current platforms, including PCs running Windows, macOS, and Linux, smartphones and tablets running iOS or Android, as well as AI-enabled smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home, among other devices.

Instead of paying artists a set fee per song or album sold via physical or digital sales, Spotify pays royalties based on the amount of artist streams as a percentage of the overall number of songs played through the platform. It distributes around 70% of its overall earnings to rights holders (typically record labels), who in turn pay artists in accordance with their specific contracts with them. It is estimated that around 13,000 out of seven million Spotify artists would produce $50,000 or more in payouts in 2020, according to Ben Sisario of The New York Times.