Spotify’s Q4 2019 MAU up 31% 271 mn; revenue grows 24%YoY to €1,855 mn

Digital music service provider Spotify has reported growth in its Monthly Active Users (MAUs) for the third consecutive quarter, with total MAUs growing 31 per cent Y/Y to 271 million. Spotify continues to see exponential growth in podcast hours streamed (up approximately 200% Y/Y) and are now seeing clear indications that podcast usage is driving increased overall engagement and retention. 

Total revenue of €1,855 million grew 24 per cent Y/Y in Q4. Consolidated revenue was in line with Spotify’s expectations, with Premium slightly better and Ad-Supported slightly weaker than forecast. Ad-Supported revenue’s growth of 23 per cent Y/Y at €217 million was an acceleration from Q3, but still fell slightly short of expectations. Premium revenue was reported at €1,638 million, up 24 per cent Y/Y. 

For the Premium business, average revenue per user (“ARPU”) of €4.65 in Q4 was down 5 per cent Y/Y (down 6 per cent excluding the impact from FX rates). A significant portion of this decline was driven by the extension of the free trial period across Spotify’s entire product suite in the quarter. Excluding the impact of Trials & Campaigns, ARPU would have declined 2 per cent Y/Y as a result of continued mix shifts in product and geography. 

Key highlights: 

Monthly Active Users (MAUs)

  • Total MAUs grew 31% Y/Y to 271 million, outperforming the high end of the guidance range
  • Growth re-accelerated across our 3 largest regions (Europe, North America, and Latin America), while the Rest of World segment remains our fastest growing
  • North America saw the fastest quarterly growth since 4Q’18
  • Results in 4Q’19 were bolstered by promotional activity, i.e. the 5th annual year-end Spotify Wrapped Campaign - more than 60 million users engaged with Wrapped content this year, spurring more than 40 million shares of Wrapped stories and cards and more than 6.5 billion streams from Year/Decade Top Songs playlists 

Premium Subscribers

  • 124 million Premium Subscribers globally, up 29% Y/Y, exceeding expectations, which is the highest net add quarter Spotify has experienced and the fastest they’ve ever added 10 million subscribers
  • Growth was led by strong performance of ‘3 months on us’ intro to Spotify’s annual year-end promotional Holiday campaign 


  • Total revenue was €1,855 million in Q4, representing growth of 24% Y/Y, in line with expectations
  • Premium revenue was €1,638 million of the total and grew 24% Y/Y, also in line with expectations
  • Ad-Supported revenue was €217 million, up 23% Y/Y, but weaker than the forecast 


  • More than 16% of Spotify’s MAUs now engage with podcast content, and consumption hours have grown nearly 200% Y/Y in Q4
  • There are now over 700,000 titles available on the platform
  • In Q4, 26 podcast shows were released in markets outside the US to capitalize on the growing global trend of consumption. These included, but were not limited to the first three original podcasts in India – ‘22 Yarns’ by Gaurav Kapur, ‘Love Aaj Kal’, and ‘Bhaskar Bose’ 


The Ringer – Spotify also announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire The Ringer, a leading creator of sports, entertainment and pop culture content. With this acquisition, Spotify continues to deliver against its goal to become the world’s leading audio platform. The Ringer will bring to Spotify its industry leading sports and entertainment team, podcast catalog and website, further expanding Spotify’s content offering and audience reach. With its popular show line-up, The Ringer also offers new opportunities for monetisation along with a continued focus on deepening audience engagement and innovating formats within Spotify’s business model. 

Two Sided Marketplace

Spotify’s two-sided marketplace tools combined with a strategic licensing contributed more than €30 million in Gross Profit 

Key developments: 

Spotify for Artists – Launched the year-end “Artist Wrapped” campaign to drive engagement among existing Spotify for Artists users and acquire new ones. Artist Wrapped is the industry version of our consumer 2019 Wrapped campaign. It is a tailor-made experience for artist teams that summarizes the highlights of their year on Spotify and how listeners engaged with their work. There are now over 500,000 monthly active artists and creators on Spotify for Artists, and it is expected that the platform will be the main entry point for most of our paid creator tools.

Sponsored Recommendations – Spotify sees native content promotion as an area of high value to both artists and listeners and also as a new higher margin revenue stream for Spotify. Its sponsored new release recommendation is targeted to both Ad-Supported and Premium listeners on mobile and is a personalised reminder for users to stream an album that the company believes they’ll like. For labels and artists, this tool is an opportunity to reach the right audience at the right time in ways they can’t with other platforms. In October 2019, Spotify launched the Beta in the United States. The primary goal with the Beta in Q4 was learning, keeping a close eye on listener and customer feedback to evaluate product-market fit. Average click-through rates and average listener conversion have been at consistently high rates (+30% for each). Additionally, sponsored recommendations have had no noticeable effect on Premium retention, with feedback suggesting users find the content relevant and valuable. Early indications on the artist side are also very encouraging. Not only can sponsored recommendations have a significant impact on awareness, but this tool is proving to be very effective in ensuring an artist seamlessly finds its audience. Compared to a control group, Spotify has seen sponsored recommendations drive a material increase in both saves and plays

Others – Spotify will continue to grow and expand the marketplace strategy, including with services such as Soundtrap and Soundbetter. As an example, while still early days, Soundtrap doubled its paying subscriber base in Q4


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