Spotify Issues Guidance Ahead of IPO

Chris Lange

Spotify will be another big initial public offering (IPO) to hit the U.S. markets this spring, following the recent debut by Dropbox. Early on Monday, ahead of its expected IPO in April, Spotify released guidance for its first quarter and full year.

For the first quarter, Spotify expects to see monthly active users (MAU) of 168 million to 171 million, up 28% to 31% year over year. The firm also expects premium subscribers to grow 41% to 46% from last year to a total of 73 million to 76 million.

In terms of the actual numbers, Spotify is looking for revenue growth of 22% to 27% in the first quarter, with a gross margin in the range of 23% to 24%.

For the full year, total MAUs are expected to grow 26% to 32% to a total of 198 million to 208 million users, with premium subscribers growing 30% to 36% year over year to a total of 92 million to 96 million.

Full year revenues are expected to grow 20% to 30%, with a gross margin of 23% to 25%.

As we have said before, Spotify is taking what some consider to be a sneaky approach to entering the market and is moving ahead with a direct listing, according to sources familiar with the matter.

A direct listing is a somewhat unconventional way to attempt an IPO because it does not raise any new capital. Most of the companies that we see in this process are specifically going through IPOs to raise capital, to either pay down debt or for general corporate purposes.

This approach would take away the need for a broker to underwrite the IPO, while dodging many of the fees tied to this service.

Most recently, this online music streaming service was valued as much as $19 billion. Even though its market cap pales in comparison, Spotify’s main competition is with Apple and Amazon.

Spotify expects to conduct its direct listing on April 3, according to some sources. It had previously filed for the listing confidentially with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), with Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Allen as underwriters.