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Spotify Hits 20 Million Paid Subscribers, 75 Million Active Users

Sweden’s TeliaSonera invests $115 million for a 1.4% stake in the streaming service

Streaming service Spotify punched back at Apple on Wednesday, announcing two days after the official unveiling of Apple Music that it now has more than 20 million paying subscribers and 75 million active users, as well as a cash injection from a major backer.

“What a difference a year makes!” the company said in a statement. At the end of May 2014, the service reached 10 million paying subscribers and 40 million active users — a jump that averages out to one new subscriber every three seconds over the past year, Spotify said, noting that it added as many paying subscribers this past year as it had in the previous five and half years since it launched.

Spotify also pointed out that it’s paid more than $3 billion in royalties to artists, including more than $300 million in the first three months of 2015.

“That’s good for music, good for music fans … and good for music makers,” the company said.

It’s clear that the streaming wars, already intense, are heating up. The imminent launch of Apple Music announced earlier this week revealed a deep-pocketed entrant accompanied by unrivaled consumer relationships.

To help face the threat, Swedish telecom operator TeliaSonera, one of Spotify’s backers, said it has invested an additional $115 million in the company in exchange for a 1.4-percent stake.

The move is said to be part of a $526 million new funding round by Spotify to raise cash for expansion, which will include new forms of content. The company has said it wants to add videos and podcasts from partners like ESPN, Conde Nast, Comedy Central and NBC.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the funding round closed this week, valuing Spotify at $8.53 billion. It said a handful of international and U.S. firms participated along with TeliaSonera.

TeliaSonera said in a statement that it and Spotify are committing resources and staff to a “joint innovation agenda within areas such as media distribution, customer insights, data analytics and advertising.”

“We have a long and great relationship with TeliaSonera and I’m pleased we’re able to take this to the next level,” said Spotify CEO and founder Daniel Ek.