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Spotify shares soar as company swings to profit

Shares in music and podcast streaming giant Spotify soared after it reported Tuesday an increase in the number of paying subscribers.

Despite its success in the online music market, the company has never posted a full-year net profit and only occasionally quarterly profits
Despite its success in the online music market, the company has never posted a full-year net profit and only occasionally quarterly profits - Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP JUSTIN SULLIVAN
Despite its success in the online music market, the company has never posted a full-year net profit and only occasionally quarterly profits - Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP JUSTIN SULLIVAN

Shares in music and podcast streaming giant Spotify soared after it reported Tuesday an increase in the number of paying subscribers and a rare but lower-than-expected operating profit for the first quarter.

The company posted a “new quarterly high” operating profit of 168 million euros ($179 million) — a turnaround from a loss of 156 million euros over the same period last year.

While the figure was lower than its guidance of 180 million euros, investors were encouraged and shares in Spotify — which is listed on the New York stock exchange — rose over 13 percent in the early hours of trading.

Spotify said the operating profit had been impacted by higher-than-expected payroll taxes which are tied to share-based compensations.

The audio group also said it had 615 million active users at the end of the quarter, just short of its guidance of 618 million.

Some 239 million were paying subscribers, just in line with its projections.

Spotify said the business had “performed well” in the quarter, “led by healthy subscriber gains, improved monetization and record strength in profitability.”

“Overall, we are encouraged by the strong start to the year,” the company said in its earnings report.

Revenue grew 20 percent year-on-year to 3.6 billion euros, but was down one percent compared to the preceding quarter.

Spotify has invested heavily since its launch to fuel growth with expansions into new markets and, in later years, exclusive content such as podcasts.

Despite its success in the online music market, the company has never posted a full-year net profit and only occasionally quarterly profits.

On Tuesday, it said it expected an operating profit of 250 million euros in the second quarter of the year.

In December, Spotify announced it would reduce its staff by around 17 percent in a bid to reduce costs, which followed earlier cuts announced in January and June of 2023.

In July 2023, the Swedish company announced it was raising its prices for premium subscribers “across a number of markets around the world,” following in the footsteps of similar moves by competing music services from Apple and Amazon.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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