Spotify’s share worth crash is a shocker for Daniel Ek. It gained’t have greatest happy music’s greatest corporations. – Music Enterprise Worldwide

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MBW Reacts is a collection of brief remark items from the MBW group. They’re our ‘fast take’ reactions – via a music biz lens – to main leisure information tales. 

in article 1

Did Spotify have a powerful Q1 or not? That every one is determined by which lens you look via.

In February, Daniel Ek‘s firm forecast it could develop international subscribers by 3 million within the first quarter of the yr. However then Russia’s invasion of Ukraine occurred.

Weeks after making its +3 million forecast, and in an act of worldwide company solidarity, Spotify minimize its billing in Russia – successfully jettisoning 1.5 million Russian subscribers from its platform.

When you ask MBW, the information that Spotify ended up adding 2 million net subscribers in Q1 – regardless of its commercially self-sacrificing transfer in Russia – has a rosy tint to it.

Spotify’s Q1 efficiency seems to be even higher within the context of Netflix, which misplaced 200,000 web subscribers in the identical quarter, and is now projecting the loss of 2 million net subs in Q2.

Wall Road, nevertheless, was in the end left unimpressed with one Spotify quantity particularly amid its newly-unveiled Q1 outcomes earlier this week.

Spotify posted a Q1 gross revenue margin within the mid-20s (25.5%), and announced that it anticipated this determine to stay flat in Q2.

Traders have been eager to see this gross margin ratchet up into the 30-percents, largely on account of Spotify’s authentic content material technique in podcasting.

The consequence?

Spotify’s already-tanking share worth on the NYSE hit new lows this week: It closed at $96.67 on Wednesday (April 27) – down 60% on the beginning of 2022, and practically 1 / 4 of the scale it was at Spotify’s peak, at $364.59 in February final yr.

All of that spelled doom for Spotify’s market cap worth, which tumbled to $18.62 billion on Wednesday evening, in response to YCharts.

That $18.62 billion determine was down – gulp – by $50.7 billion on Spotify’s equal worth simply 14 months in the past, throughout that February 2021 peak ($69.35 billion).



This isn’t nice information for Spotify, clearly – however it’s additionally not excellent news for its key shareholders, together with two main music rightsholders.

Universal Music Group (UMG) confirmed in its recently-issued annual fiscal report that it owned 3.37% of Spotify on the shut of 2021 (see beneath), having held on to the inventory UMG was granted when Spotify launched in 2008.

If UMG has, as anticipated, continued to carry onto that inventory in 2022 to this point, it could imply Common’s Spotify stake was price round $2.34 billion in February 2021, however this week fell to roughly $627 million – a decline of greater than $1.7 billion {dollars}.


Common’s newest annual report confirms that Common held 3.37% of Spotify fairness on the shut of December, and that the worth of this holding decreased by €330m (round $390m) over the course of 2021. (Graffiti, MBW’s personal.)

Elsewhere, Sony Music is believed to personal round 2.85% of Spotify inventory, having beforehand cashed in half of its 5.7% holding in SPOT again in Q2 2018.

Sony has since confirmed that it banked some $768 million from that 2018 inventory sale. It then shared this cash with artists, whereas notably overlooking their unrecouped balances.

MBW due to this fact estimates that Sony made its 2018 Spotify fairness sale when SPOT was price round $27 billion – roughly $8 billion greater than SPOT was price halfway via this week.

[This article assumes that Sony has not quietly cashed in any additional Spotify stock this year.]

Warner Music Group sold 100% of its Spotify stock in the identical quarter as Sony’s disposal (Q2 2018).

WMG banked $504 million from that sale, and shared 25% of that cash with artists (however didn’t overlook unrecouped balances)

In the meantime, indie label collective Merlin sold its entire Spotify inventory on the primary day that SPOT floated on the New York Inventory Trade (April 3, 2018), when the streaming firm had a $26.5 billion market cap.

Because of this, it’s understood each Warner and Merlin are not shareholders in music’s largest streaming subscription platform.


Common and Sony’s Spotify inventory holdings maybe have price past mere fairness worth, after all; it may very well be argued that, for a significant music firm, proudly owning even a morsel of fairness in SPOT brings with it related negotiating leverage.

Hervé Philippe, the CFO of Vivendi, stated on an earnings name in late August 2020 (when Vivendi nonetheless majority-owned Common) that Vivendi/UMG had “no intention to promote our stake in Spotify, which is an excellent accomplice to us”.

Philippe acknowledged that Vivendi/UMG was a “completely satisfied shareholder of Spotify”, and urged {that a} “long-term relationship with Spotify is in the most effective curiosity of each our shareholders [and] our artists”.

“We have now no intention to promote our stake in Spotify, which is an excellent accomplice to us.”

Hervé Philippe, Vivendi (talking in August 2020, when Vivendi owned UMG)

Phillipe additionally stated, nevertheless, that Vivendi was “very proud of the share worth of Spotify, which has elevated rather a lot in  latest weeks”.

At that cut-off date (Aug 2020), Spotify’s market cap was price round $50 billion. That’s over $30 billion greater than SPOT was price on the shut of Wednesday this week.

(UMG is not majority-owned by Vivendi, having floated on the Amsterdam Euronext in September 2021.)



Common has previously confirmed that, if it ever does promote its Spotify stake (or a few of its Spotify fairness stake) it – like Sony earlier than it – will share the proceeds with UMG artists whereas overlooking their unrecouped balances.

How a lot cash these artists in the end receives a commission relies upon, to a big diploma, on how profitable Daniel Ek is at stopping the rot of Spotify’s share worth within the months forward.

He’s off to a optimistic begin: Yesterday (April 28), following its fall beneath $100 on Wednesday, Spotify’s NYSE share worth rebounded up 6.4%, including over $1 billion to SPOT’s market cap in a single day.

On the time of publishing, Spotify’s share price is in the present day (April 29) up by one other 1.5%.

This can be a optimistic begin.

But when Daniel Ek and his administration group are to recapture the purple patch of Spotify’s business price – again when it was kissing a $70 billion market cap worth in February final yr – they nonetheless have an extended, lengthy approach to go.Music Enterprise Worldwide

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