Spotify is a music, podcast, and video streaming service that was officially launched on 7 October 2008. It is developed by startup Spotify AB in Stockholm, Sweden. It provides digital rights management-protected content from record labels and media companies. Spotify is a freemium service, meaning that basic features are free with advertisements, while additional features are offered via paid subscriptions, including improved streaming quality and offline music downloads. Spotify is available in most of Europe, most of the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia. It is available for most modern devices, including Windows, macOS, and Linux computers, as well as iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. Music can be browsed through or searched for by parameters such as artist, album, genre, playlist, or record label. Users can create, edit, and share playlists, share tracks on social media, and make playlists with other users. Spotify provides access to more than 30 million songs. As of June 2017, it had more than 140 million monthly active users and more than 60 million paying subscribers as of July 2017. Spotify pays royalties based on the number of artists' streams as a proportion of total songs streamed on the service, unlike physical or download sales, which pay artists a fixed price per song or album sold. They distribute approximately 70% of total revenue to rights holders, who then pay artists based on their individual agreements. Spotify has faced criticism from artists and producers, including Taylor Swift and Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, who feel that it does not fairly compensate music creators as music sales decline and streaming increases. Spotify announced in April 2017 that artists will be able to make new album releases exclusively available on the Premium service for a maximum of two weeks if they are part of Universal Music Group and Merlin Network, as part of its efforts to renegotiate new license deals with record labels for a reported interest in going public.
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