Spotify adds more subscribers, podcasts fuel ad rebound

Platform now has 172 million premium subscribers and 381 million monthly active users

Revenue from ads, which fell at the height of the pandemic, have jumped 75 per cent to €323 million. Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

Revenue from ads, which fell at the height of the pandemic, have jumped 75 per cent to €323 million. Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

 

Spotify Technology beat Wall Street estimates for third-quarter revenue as more paid subscribers signed up for its premium service and advertisers lined up to air ads in between music and podcasts.

Premium subscribers, which account for most of the company’s revenue, hit 172 million, just beating analysts’ expectations of 171.7 million.

Total monthly active users rose 19 per cent to 381 million.

Spotify earns from subscriptions and by presenting adverts to non-paying members. Revenue from ads, which fell at the height of the pandemic, jumped 75 per cent to €323 million, and the company is planning to hire hundreds of staff to further boost advertising sales.

The company has also been investing heavily in its podcast business to rival that of Apple, and later launched a paid subscription platform for podcasters in the United States and opened it up for advertising.

“We are seeing lots of demand on the podcasting side, which is bringing more advertisers in,” chief executive Daniel Ek said in an interview.

The company does not break down the share of advertising generated by podcasts but Ek said growth was in triple digits over the same period last year, becoming a significant contributor to overall advertising growth.

Podcasts

Spotify ventured into podcasts in 2018 with a series of acquisitions and currently has 3.2 million podcasts on its platform, up from 2.9 million in the last quarter.

“While we have been relentless in our pursuit of being the world’s largest audio platform, it’s still early days and we are just getting started,” Ek said.

Spotify forecasts fourth-quarter revenue of €2.54-2.68 billion with 177-181 million premium subscribers. The top end of both measures surpasses the average analyst estimates of €2.62 billion in revenue and 180 million subscribers.

Total revenue rose 27 per cent to €2.50 billion in the third quarter, beating the 2.45 billion expected by analysts, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

About 40 per cent of Spotify’s premium subscribers are based in Europe and 29 per cent in the US.

The company reported a net profit of €2 million compared with a loss of €101 million a year earlier. – Reuters