Investors have valued the Swedish company at around $23 billion
Twelve years after the Swedish music streaming service broke cover, it is finally going public. Spotify is now the world’s largest music streaming service and it has decided to capitalize on its lead by going public.
To inspire a little confidence among its prospective customers, it has also revealed some of its otherwise closely guarded numbers. There has been an overall upward trajectory in its revenues over the last three years. It bagged $2.37 billion in revenues in 2015, $3.6 billion in 2016 and $4.99 billion in 2017. But it also took a $1.5 billion hit in 2017, $1 billion of which was a non-recurring expense owing to a deal with Tencent. It was its biggest loss in the last three years, as in 2016 it had an operating loss of $461.3 million while the year before that it lost $425.9 million.
By the end of 2017, Spotify which was present in 61 countries and territories said that it had 159 million active users, with 71 million of them being paying subscribers. That’s nearly double than what Apple reported with figures of around 36 million paid subscribers. Google Play Music has much catching up to do with only 7 million paying subscribers signed up to its services.In its filing, Spotify said, “We set out to reimagine the music industry and to provide a better way for both artists and consumers to benefit from the digital transformation of the music industry. Spotify was founded on the belief that music is universal and that streaming is a more robust and seamless access model that benefits both artists and music fans.”
It’s chosen to go down the direct listing route rather than the conventional IPO one, meaning that its share will not be underwritten which implies that there will be no set price at which the shares will open at when it begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange. However, the shares have been traded on private markets at up to $132.5, leading investors to value the company at around $23 billion. The listing would make the co-founders very wealthy – CEO and co-founder Daniel Ek owns 25 per cent of the company while Director and co-founder Martin Lorentzon owns 13 per cent. Between the two of them, they will continue to call the shots at the company as Ek has 37.3 per cent voting rights while Lorentzon has 43.1 per cent voting rights.
With Spotify fighting hard to retain its independence, it is still the rebel at heart, a quality that has specifically endeared it to tens of millions of its fans around the world.