The reason behind a direct listing of shares: SPOTIFY does not feel it needs to raise new money, and a direct listing — where investors would trade shares in the open market — would be an attractive option. A SPOTIFY spokesperson noted that a final decision on a direct listing had yet to been made.
To sweeten the potential of its IPO, SPOTIFY has been trying to secure long-term licensing contracts, such as a recent multiyear deal with UMG, and another one with MERLIN, which represents more than 20,000 independent record labels. It’s currently negotiating separate deals with WARNER MUSIC and SONY MUSIC. The three major conglomerates each hold minority stakes in SPOTIFY.
SPOTIFY claims to have reached 50 million paying customers, including 20 million new paying customers in the past year. Yet, even after reporting revenues of €1.95 billion, the service still suffered a net loss of €173m in 2015, due to €1.63 billion in royalty and distribution fees. Even so, SPOTIFY has raised more than $1.5 billion and was valued at $8.5 billion in a funding round last year.