The Q4 results are out for Spotify. According to certain measurements of success, Spotify had a great year. In terms of share price, SPOT soared by 106%. In fact, Spotify’s share price tripled over the course of 10 months in 2020. While this is impressive and deserves recognition, a more granular look at the streaming service’s finances tells a different story.
On the top line, everything looks up to par. Spotify’s subscriber count surged by 11 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, increasing a total of 31 million throughout the year. Keeping with that trend, Spotify’s annual revenue growth also increased by 16.5% on the year. Everything looks great, right? Well, not completely. Spotify’s Sales and Marketing expenses jumped 25% in 2020, bringing that cost to $1.18 billion. Yes, billion. From 2017 to 2020, Spotify’s marketing expenses have nearly doubled alongside it’s total operating costs. While this indicates a period of serious growth, it makes the bottom line look undesirable. In 2020, Spotify netted an $810 million dollar loss. I’ll do the math for you: 810 divided by 365 comes out to losses of 2.2 million every day. While Daniel Ek is sure Spotify will be the future of audio, the CEO will have to turn to profits at some point, rather than growth. Spotify seems to increasingly be taking over the audio landscape, but the streaming service has an uphill battle to fight when it comes to profits.