Spotify subscriber numbers surge as lockdown spurs demand for podcasts

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Spotify Technology SA (NYSE:SPOT) has reported a surge in subscribers in its latest quarter, which helped push the music streaming service’s annual revenues up by 17%.

Paid subscriber numbers jumped to 155mln in the quarter, exceeding the top end of guidance said the Sweden-based but US-listed business.

Spotify added that it gained a net 10mln premium subscribers over the last three months of the year, with a record 30mln net signings during 2020.

Total monthly users, including non-payers, surged 27% during the final quarter to 345mln, again at the top of expectations with net additions of 74mln.

Average revenue per user fell 8% to €4.26 year-on-year in the final quarter but usage rose with core regions in Europe and the US seeing consumption growth resume.

Podcast consumption in the fourth quarter was nearly double this time a year ago, it said, with the exclusive Joe Rogan Experience number one in 17 countries.

Ad revenues were affected by the impact of coronavirus but picked up steadily from the second quarter and with growth in subscriptions, revenues rose 10% quarter-on-quarter to €2.17bn in the three months to end December and by 17% year-on-year.

Losses for the quarter were little changed on a year ago at €179mln (€173mln) as R&D and marketing costs rose.

For the 2020 year overall, losses were €709mln on revenues of €7.88bn.

In this quarter, Spotify expects total subscribers to rise to between 354-364 million, with premium at 155-158mln.

Revenues are tipped to be €1.99 – €2.19bn with an operating loss of between €(78) – €(28)mln.

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