Loss-making Spotify goes public

Spotify is the biggest global music streaming company.
Spotify is the biggest global music streaming company. Photo credit: Reuters

Music streaming service Spotify filed for a direct listing of up to US$1 billion with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday (US time), becoming the first major company in the recent past to do so.

But it is yet to turn a profit.

A direct listing is an unconventional way to pursue an IPO and will help Spotify list without the need to raise new capital or hire a Wall Street bank or broker to underwrite the offering.

Launched in 2008, Sweden’s Spotify is the biggest global music streaming company and counts tech giants Apple and Amazon as its main rivals.

In its filing, the company said it has 71 million premium subscribers and about 159 million monthly average users. By comparison, Apple Music, which was launched in 2015, has 36 million paying subscribers.

Spotify's premium subscription costs NZ$14.99 a month. Apple Music charges the same, but offers a three-month free trial to its users. Unlike Spotify, Apple does not have an advertising-based free service.

"With our ad-supported service, we believe there is a large opportunity to grow users and gain market share from traditional terrestrial radio," Spotify said.

The company is seeking to list its ordinary shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol 'SPOT'.

Revenue for Spotify, which is present in more than 60 countries, came in at €4.09 billion in 2017, compared with €2.95 billion a year earlier.

But its operating loss widened to €378 million, from €349 million a year earlier.

One analysis last year showed in order to make the minimum US wage, an artist would need 90,000 plays a month, with each stream worth only US$0.00397.

Reuters / Newshub.