Spotify is feeling pretty upbeat about Spotify in the days leading up to its widely-anticipated listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
The streaming music giant shared its quarterly and yearly outlook in its latest Securities & Exchange Commission filing, published earlier in the week, including a prediction of between 92-96 million paid premium subscribers by the end of 2018, up 30-36% year on year.
Spotify’s prognosticators also project between 198 and 208 million active users, a year-on-year growth rate of 26-32%. That figure will include subscribers from the recent rollout in South Africa, Israel and Vietnam, lifting its global territory count to 65 markets.
Those full-year projections also bear an operating loss of €230-330 million ($371-$532 million), which will factor in the one-off cost of its direct listing, estimated at about €35-40 million (and booked for Q2). Revenue for the full- year is anticipated to reach or even surpass €5 billion, up 20-30% from the previous year figure.
Those hefty losses aside, Spotify appears to be running its own global race to sign up music fans. In the first quarter alone, its base of paid subscribers grew to 73-76 million (up 41-46% year-on-year) on total active users of 168-171 million (up 28-31%) with revenue in the range of €1.10-1.15 billion.
That first figure compares favorably with the consensus No. 2-ranked on-demand subscription music platform Apple Music, which recently announced it had attracted 38 million paid subscribers in just three years of operation.
Spotify, as previously reported, will begin trading on April 3. The 10-year-old Sweden-originated business won’t actually issue any new shares or raise money in its IPO, rather its existing stakeholders – which include the music majors and Merlin, the independent digital rights agency – can offer their shares to investors, a practice known as a direct listing. By some estimates, Spotify’s value will reach or even surpass US$20 billion.
But those losses do leap off the page. So many questions remain about Spotify, its long term business model and this route to the public. When will it start turning a fat profit? Is it really too big to fail? Will the majors and Merlin immediately sell their shares? And how will that shareprice look a day, a week, a year down the road? Watch this space.