Inactive accounts represented 70% of Spotify's registered accounts at the end of 2011 and 73% of Deezer's registered accounts this year. [Update: Deezer CEO Axel Dauchez tweeted on March 29 that Deezer’s inactive users account for 62% of registered users.] The important point here, writes Mulligan, is that "streaming services as a whole have a problem with churn." The term churn means loss of customers. Churn is expensive to companies because it is always more expensive to gain a new customer than to keep an existing customer.
But worrying about an unconverted, inactive group of registered users breaks with the logic of the Internet. Inactive users are just a part of doing business online. Getting people to register is just the first step. Not everyone will become a frequent visitor or paying customer. As Mulligan later noted in an update to the blog post -- after an exchange on Twitter with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek -- "this is a problem that affects all businesses that have a free tier that requires registration."
Inactive accounts are a part of doing business for many online services. For instance, a 2012 study found 70% of Facebook pages are inactive. Last year Semiocast found that 73% of Twitter accounts are inactive.