Soon, you too can own a part of Spotify.
The music streaming service has filed for its initial public offering, seeking $1 billion for its start on the New York Stock Exchange. The ticker will be $SPOT, according to the F-1 filing.
Spotify’s decision to go public has been expected and in the works for months as the company aims to return investments to venture capitalists and further grow its business. Now, it’s opening itself up to the pocketbooks and the scrutiny of the public market. That status isn’t always easy — just look at competing music-streaming service Pandora.
But Spotify is making moves to be bigger and better. As of December 31, Spotify has 159 million monthly active users and 71 million subscribers, as in those who pay to use the service. In its F-1 filing, Spotify notes that it expects these numbers are “nearly double the scale of our closest competitor, Apple Music.” Apple has historically been quiet about the size of its paid services such as Apple Music. But a recent Wall Street Journal report suggests Apple Music could overtake Spotify in the U.S. if it continues to grow at a rate of 5 percent per month.
Spotify’s business, according to its F-1, is to serve music fans, who drive the company’s revenue through listening to paid ads or paying for a subscription.
“Our mission is to unlock the potential of human creativity by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by these creators,” reads the beginning of the overview in its F-1 filing.
Spotify has had shaky history with the music industry, facing fierce backlash from big artists. Pop star Taylor Swift pulled her music from the streaming service in 2014 and later partnered with Apple Music, as she demanded more financial returns for work. Swift put her music back on Spotify last year.
But the popularity and continued dominance of streaming is strong. As Spotify cited in its F-1, streaming revenues increased by 60 percent in 2016, reaching $4.6 billion. Meanwhile, physical sales and digital download revenues declined at 8 percent and 21 percent, respectively, citing several estimates.
Spotify isn’t alone in the effort to grow its streaming service. As the company cites, Apple is a big competitor. Among the risks revealed in its F-1 is “our ability to attract prospective users and to retain existing users.” There’s Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, iHeartRadio, and SoundCloud — to name a few. And like Taylor Swift showed, artists have power.