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Spotify Projects Slower Growth, 90 Million-Plus Subscribers by End of 2018

Spotify expects revenue to grow by around 20 to 30 percent this year — and between 92 and 96 million paying subscribers — the company announced on Monday, in guidance issued ahead of its public listing on the New York Stock Exchange next week.

The company, the world’s largest streaming service, said it expected 2018 revenue of 4.9 billion to 5.3 billion euros ($6.1 billion to $6.8 billion), although decline from 2017, when its revenue rose 39 percent. For the first quarter, the company said it expected revenue of 1.10 billion to 1.15 billion euros, up 22 to 27 percent.

The company still projects no clear path to profitability, but it has said multiple times that its strategy for this phase is growth over profit, which it expects as its number of users grows.

Spotify says it has 157 million monthly active users in 61 countries, 71 million of those in its premium paid subscription tier, “which we believe is nearly double the scale of our closest competitor, Apple Music,” the company said in a filing, although that number includes users on a free trial basis. Earlier this month, Apple’s Eddy Cue said Apple Music has 38 million subscribers, plus another eight million users in free-trial mode.

In a presentation on March 15 dubbed “Investor Day,” the company confirmed that it will go public on April 3 and doubled down on its controversial “freemium” free trial service, which rights-holders despise but the company asserts has converted many users into paying subscribers.

In a response clearly intended to counter claims that Spotify is not paying artists sufficiently, cofounder and CEO Daniel Ek said the company’s goal is to enable 1 million people to live from music. Head of artist relations Troy Carter spoke about the company’s Spotify for Artists, which helps them pinpoint their audience and its habits and which he said more than 100,000 artists per months are using. However, his claim that “Today, most of the artists’ reservations [about Spotify] have been addressed” would probably be disputed by many.

 

 

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