Monday, June 11, 2018

Report: Spotify Market Cap Soars

Spotify's share price closed on the New York Stock Exchange at an all-time high on Friday pushing the company's market cap comfortably above $30B, according to Music Business Worldwide.

Spotify's stock price consistently climbed in the eight trading days following Tuesday, May 29 - up to $171.48 at the close of last week.

What could have nudged the share price higher over the past week in particular?

Very possibly the news that Spotify is starting to strike direct, non-exclusive licensing deals with artists and managers, MBW reports.

Wall Street has long speculated that Spotify may try to improve its gross margins by somehow 'cutting out' the record labels in certain instances, therefore reducing the overall percentage of its revenues it pays out in licensing fees. Some analysts have even suggested Spotify could do this by 'signing' acts - effectively acting like a label itself.

According to a financial document filed earlier this year by Spotify, acts signed to the three major labels (and labels repped by indie agency Merlin) were responsible for 87% of Spotify streams in 2017.

According to Billboard's new report, Spotify's current approach to direct licensing is a little more complicated/clever than a straight 'signing'.

The platform is reportedly paying managers and/or independent artists six-figure advances, then additionally offering these acts a royalty rate equivalent to a 50% revenue share per stream.

Although 50% is lower than the much-cited 55% revenue share the labels typically receive - following their latest round of Spotify deals last year - it's inevitably a higher cut of the proceeds than an act would pocket by signing to a record company... and then letting Universal, Sony, Warner or an indie label take a cut of the payout.

In other words, it looks as though Spotify is trying to hit a sweet spot: it's paying artists a better net royalty rate than they could achieve via a label or distributor - but it's a rate which, overall, leaves Daniel Ek's company better off than its typical licensing deals with industry partners.

Judging by Spotify's latest stock price, Wall Street likes what it sees.

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