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For a detailed company description, refer to SPOT’s company profile page.

Below is an ongoing record highlighting notes from select SPOT investor presentations and earnings calls (newest content shown first).

Third Quarter 2018 Earnings Call, November 1, 2018


  • Most of our key metrics finished towards top end of forecast ranges
  • Launched a direct upload feature for independent artists
  • Today, 250k creators use Spotify for Artists on a monthly basis
  • In the US, announced partnership with Google where new family subscribers can receive a Google Home Mini. Will continue to build on partnership with Google in coming months
  • Sky in Europe – subscribers can add Spotify to their Sky bundle
  • Announced a bundle with Hulu
  • Q&A with Sell-side Research Analysts
  • Saw increased operating margins in current quarter because we were not able to deploy R&D dollars as fast as we wanted. Wanted to signal that rate of R&D investment will increase which will pressure margins
  • Advertising margins to benefit from shift to self-serve programmatic – timeframe on this?
    • This may take several years. Self-serve is currently 20-24% of revenues currently and growing at twice the rate of direct.  Recently launched a new automated early…it is growing extremely fast but off of a small base.  Market is moving aggressively towards programmatic solutions (faster in Europe), so we have made it a point of technical emphasis
    • The market is headed there and we are driving there as fast as we can
  • Spotify for Artists data features – any early learnings on how
    • 64k artists have submitted their work and 10k artists have shown up on curated playlists. Very encouraged by results
  • What are you seeing in cost of acquiring customers?
    • Profit margin is a managed outcome and is a byproduct of investment in features
    • Three ways to drive growth- marketing, geographic expansion, and investment in features/functionality
    • Company is an engineering drive organization so incremental investment is all about building features to make for a better user experience, so the point is to accelerate growth through the user experience
    • We have not commented on benefits of these investments for 2019 which we will discuss on next call
  • Progress on integration with Samsung devices
    • This is a recent announcement. Strategy is to be on every device and many customers have devices across different ecosystems.
  • How should we think about podcasts and investment into podcasts?
    • In early days of how podcast market place will evolve. Experimenting with different deal types, investing in user experience, and improving monetization for creators
  • Pace of ARPU decline in 2019 and biggest drivers?
    • Biggest impact will come from growth in student and family plan (rather than geographic expansion)
    • Rate of ARPU decline will continue to decelerate
  • Impact from new ad supported user interface rolled our early this year?
    • Too early to say. Early signs are encouraging but still noise in the data related to this being rolled out in many geographies
  • How should we think about e-commerce opportunity (ticketing and merchandise)?
    • Our goal is to connect artists and fans. Many artists have a huge audience on Spotify.  As part of that, you can expect us to enable opportunities for creators to upsell their superfans
  • Japan update? Timing of launch in India?
    • Early results in Japan are encouraging. India is a very fragmented market and sheer scale of license partnerships makes it hard to predict timing on launch
  • Any plan to charge artists for data?
    • It will be a freemium business, but data specifically will be unlikely to charge for
  • Path for gross margin improvement to LT target to be linear?
    • Vast majority of gross margin improvement will come from marketplace strategy
  • Music Modernization Act
    • Mostly good for us in the passage of the act. Makes it easier to know who rights holders are and how to pay them.  See it as a margin enhancing opportunity over the long-term
  • Label negotiations – are labels looking for more data?
    • Primary strategy is around two-sided marketplace
  • How does competitive landscape change with SIRI acquiring Pandora and Apple striking deal with iHeartMedia
    • We believe vast majority of minutes on radio have not yet moved online, so natural that we won’t be the only player, but feel good about our strategy of ubiquity and user experience
  • Clarify what you’ve done to date with direct distribution?
    • We don’t view our strategy to be in opposition of any of our partners. Labels make significant investment to bring artists to market.  One of our goals is to make that more efficient and bring down that cost, which can allow more artists to be discovered which will in turn help labels
  • Any clarity on why Q4 subscriber growth was lower at top end vs prior expectations
    • We reverted to guidance provided previously. Our objective is to land at 70th percentile range of guidance we give and wanted to avoid situation where we exceed our expectations but underperformed the Street expectations in Q4

Goldman Sachs Investor Conference, September 4, 2018


Barry McCarthy, Chief Financial Officer

  • 25-year trend – “everything linear dies and everything on-demand wins”
  • We are trying to become a value-added service for labels and artists
  • We have about 200k artists participating in our artist platform, which is up about 100k artists since March 2018 investor day, but we have 3mm artists on the platform
  • We are penetrated on about 13% of the 1.3Bn payment enabled smartphones in markets we operate in. That is forecast to grow to 1.7Bn smartphones by 2021 and there are another 1.3Bn smartphones in markets we don’t operate in yet
  • New content is improving the value proposition for consumers
  • Believe that the company with the best discovery of content wins particularly if most companies have access to similar libraries, so scale matters because the company with the most data wins
  • Will invest in more product features and user interface
  • An artist cannot not have a Spotify strategy
  • Direct licensing – we are not trying to compete with labels. We have a co-dependent relationship with the 3 major labels.  We can’t be successful with them, and with our 180mm users, they can’t be successful without us.  Important for us to not allow the relationship to become a zero-sum game.  SPOT’s goal is to create new services for their artists to create new opportunities and to become more productive
  • For free users that sign up and remain engaged with the service, 1 in 2 will become a paying sub
  • If we make the free experience better, it will become a more profitable ecosystem
  • Pricing – labels do want to see pricing grow, but we don’t. We want revenue to grow.  Think about what Netflix did – we added streaming, more content on top of it and kept the price the same and revenue grew dramatically
  • If we add more features and functionality, we will increase engagement
  • Europe and US comprise about 85% of revenue
  • Not going to launch India until we have a set of rights and features that will make us successful there
  • Competition – don’t think anyone is making a bigger investment in the technology required to be successful than we are. Apple has considerably less people working on music than we do, and it’s a hardware culture.  Amazon has a persistence that it makes it important that you watch them
  • Working on developing automated tools for advertising
  • Gross margin target of 35% long-term. If we are successful in growing gross margin, then, we will double down investing in R&D
  • No plans to leverage the balance sheet

Investor Day, March 2018


  • Paul Vogel – Head of Investor Relations paul@spotify.com
  • SPOT went public through a direct listing rather than an IPO
  • Begin trading on April 3 on NYSE
  • March 26 – announce financial guidance for 1Q and 2018
  • 157mm active monthly users
  • 65 markets
  • 71mm premium subscribers
  • 3500 employees
  • 35mm+ songs with 20k new tracks added daily
  • Took 2 years to get licenses and launched in Sweden initially
  • Built something to compete against piracy
  • 72% of users under 34
  • Meaningful growth in Asia
  • 12% of smartphones that are payment enabled are using Spotify today out of 1.3Bn smartphones today (in markets that SPOT operates in)
  • Average use of 49 minutes
  • “Information is power
  • Creator experience platform – optimize experience on Spotify including fan engagement, can see where they have a significant engaged audience and plan tours accordingly, invite superfans, see which songs are gaining traction. This transparency is unheard of.
  • “Information is power and for many, it helps bridge the gap between the struggling and the successful. With this, the power is rebalanced.”
  • “More economic activity for everyone”
  • Napster – took a few minutes to download a song, but we believed consumers wanted an immediate experience (half a second)
  • Built an end to end network to allow streams to start almost immediately, making it seem that all the tracks were on your computer
  • Once mobile took off, people wanted instant, on-demand access but mobile networks often were slow/poor
  • Have 250 partners to make Spotify available on connected devices – Tesla, Google, GM, TWTR, Amazon
  • In 2015, believed that connected speakers would take off and were on the first Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers
  • 49 minutes of usage per day by the average user
  • In early days, you needed to know a lot about music to create really great playlists
  • Now, you can have automated discovery for people who aren’t music experts
  • Accurate prediction of music you think you may like based on past behavior
  • “Self driving music”
  • 30%+ of streams on SPOT are ‘algotorial’ programmed by algorithm or from others’ playlist
  • Focused on discover, not just access
  • Freemium – 60% of free subscribers convert to paying subs
  • 86% brand awareness in the US and 69% globally
  • 21% of MAUs in Latam
  • 36% aided awareness in India
  • 45% aided awareness in South Africa – only launched a few days ago (no money spent on marketing)
  • 3mm+ artists on Spotify
  • Goal is to reach 10mm creators in the coming years
  • 30% of consumption from Spotify programming
  • “We don’t believe in gatekeepers” – Daniel Ek
  • Spotify for Artists – tool for artists to track streams, where their fans are, which playlists they are appearing on
  • Artists can narrowcast their songs to their fans (Fan Targeting)
  • Artists can use fan targeting to give fans ability to buy concert tickets before they go on sale – “Fans First” – 1mm tickets sold through Fan First in 2017
  • 100k artists using Spotify for Artists (2/3 of streams on SPOT)
  • Working on tools to allow visual layers to appear as songs are being played or to allow podcasters to show visuals throughout the podcast
  • Premium users stream 80 minutes of content per day