Spotify Technology has crossed the half a billion mark for monthly active users for the first time, helped by the music streaming company’s expansion into more markets, it said on Tuesday, sending its shares up 5%.
The number of monthly active users rose to 515 million in the first quarter, beating Spotify’s guidance and analysts’ forecast of 500 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Premium subscribers, who account for most of its revenue, rose 15% to 210 million, topping estimates of 206 million.
Its premium subscriber forecast of 217 million for the current quarter also beat expectations of 212 million. The company forecast monthly active users of 530 million.
Spotify last year laid out plans to get a billion users by 2030 and reach US$100-billion in annual revenue. It also promised high-margin returns from its costly expansion into podcasts and audiobooks.
“Spotify is not sort of one silver bullet, but it’s rather 100 or a thousand things that we are doing that sort of compounds and adds to the story,” CEO Daniel Ek said.
However, the company’s quarterly revenue of €3.04-billion missed analyst estimates of €3.08-billion, and it posted a bigger loss than expected.
“There’s still a kind of a lot of macro choppiness in Q1 so that impacts us a little bit,” Ek said.
Soft ad market
A lot of subscribers come on free trials, or part of a family plan, and Spotify doesn’t get revenue right away, which starts coming in a quarter later, he said.
A soft ad market due to ongoing economic uncertainty has led to lower prices, hitting Spotify’s margins. Gross margin dipped to 25.2% from 25.3% in the year-earlier quarter.
Spotify’s current-quarter revenue forecast of €3.2-billion also missed expectations of €3.26-billion. — Supantha Mukherjee, (c) 2023 Reuters