Music streaming service Spotify files to go public, lost $1.5 billion last year

Streaming service Spotify announced Wednesday its plan to go public.

The company will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker name SPOT. According to the company, shares have traded as high as $132.50 on private markets, which would give the company a valuation over $23 billion based on ordinary shares outstanding as of February 22.

Here's Spotify's F1 filing.

Spotify is the leader in streaming music services globally, with the company reporting 71 million paying subscribers and more than 159 million monthly active listeners (MAUs) as of December 2017. It is available in 61 countries and territories. Its closest competitor, Apple Music, is far behind at 36 million subscribers.

The company reported revenue of $2.37 billion in 2015, $3.6 billion in 2016 and $4.99 billion in 2017, according to its F1. (This is based on current euro to dollar conversion value.) It said paid subscribers are growing at a rate of 46 percent year-over-year, while MAUs are increasing at 29 percent year-over-year.

The company posted a loss of $1.5 billion in 2017, $1 billion of which was from a non-recurring expense due to convertible notes from a transaction with Tencent in December 2017. It had an operating loss of $461.3 million last year, and $425.9 million in 2016.

The company faces significant challenges to its business model, including risk from fluctuating and unpredictable royalty rates it pays to music labels, publishers, and songwriters.

"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," the company said in its filing. "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."

Spotify's initial offering of shares will not be underwritten, meaning there is no set price set by underwriters which will inform opening trades on the New York Stock Exchange. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Allen & Company are advising Spotify on the offering.

Here's how the company explained the process in its filing: it is

As this listing is taking place via a novel process that is not an underwritten initial public offering, there will be no book building process and no price at which underwriters initially sold shares to the public to help inform efficient price discovery with respect to the opening trades on the NYSE. Pursuant to NYSE Rules, we have engaged Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC ("Morgan Stanley") as a financial advisor to be available to consult with the designated market maker (the "DMM") in setting the opening public price of our ordinary shares on the NYSE. Based on information provided by the NYSE, the opening public price of our ordinary shares on the NYSE will be determined by buy and sell orders collected by the NYSE from broker-dealers and the NYSE is where buy orders can be matched with sell orders at a single price.

The company said it would list "as soon as practicable after this registration statement is declared effective."


As Spotify prepares to go public, there's no obvious solution to its shaky business model

Correction: This story originally misstated Spotify's annual revenues. The correct numbers are $2.37 billion in 2015, $3.6 billion in 2016 and $4.99 billion in 2017, based on current conversion rates from euros to dollars.

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