Spotify’s spat with Apple, its new cope with Joe Rogan and additional cost-cutting: 3 issues we realized on the corporate’s newest earnings name


Spotify can be experimenting with quite a lot of fee fashions, have been it not for the Apple Retailer’s so-called “app tax,” Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek mentioned on the corporate’s newest earnings name.

Requested whether or not Spotify was seeking to transfer past its “all-you-can-eat” pricing mannequin – i.e., a month-to-month flat price for entry to the service – Ek mentioned the corporate is already doing simply that, however on a small scale in sure restricted markets, for example “day passes” and “weekly passes”, and bodily reward playing cards, which are accessible in some areas.

“We’re very a lot adapting our pricing fashions in favor of what shoppers need. And that’s one thing that it’s best to count on us to proceed to do,” Ek mentioned on Tuesday (February 6).

However launching concepts resembling a-la-carte purchases, particular premium gives to superfans, and different issues that would imply “significant” new income for Spotify are dealing with “a big hindrance at present as a result of Apple insists on taking a 30% minimize, which in lots of instances exceeds even our personal cuts that we’re capable of take within the app,” Ek mentioned.

Particularly in additional developed nations, Spotify is “precluded” from transferring ahead with pricing improvements in “a manner… which might be worthwhile and good for shoppers and creators, due to Apple’s stance,” he added.

The charges charged by Apple have been a bone of rivalry for a lot of app builders for years. Lately, Apple’s price mannequin has confronted challenges in each the US, the place it has been the topic of a closely-watched court docket case, and within the European Union, the place a brand new legislation – the Digital Markets Act – is supposed to stop massive tech corporations from appearing as gatekeepers of digital commerce.

“We’re very a lot adapting our pricing fashions in favor of what shoppers need. And that’s one thing that it’s best to count on us to proceed to do.”

Daniel Ek, Spotify

Spotify has argued that Apple is attempting to bypass the targets of the EU’s Digital Markets Act.

Underneath Apple’s new phrases, “if we keep within the App Retailer and need to supply our personal in-app fee, we can pay a 17% fee and a 0.50 cent Euro Core Know-how Price per set up [per] 12 months,” Spotify explained in a blog post. “This equates for us to being the identical or worse as underneath the outdated guidelines.”

Spotify added: “And if we managed to take away our app from the App Retailer and solely existed within the Different App Retailer, that might nonetheless not work. With our EU Apple set up base within the 100 million person vary, this new tax on downloads and updates may skyrocket our buyer acquisition prices, doubtlessly growing them tenfold.”

On the earnings name on Tuesday, Ek mentioned Spotify doesn’t know but how the DMA might be enforced, and whether or not Apple’s new 17% fee 50-cent price per person, per 12 months, might be allowed underneath the EU’s new guidelines.

Ek famous that Spotify doesn’t have to simply accept Apple’s new phrases, and maintain going with the present mannequin. However that might restrict sure future “upsides,” resembling creating superfan golf equipment, as a result of it “merely would imply that every one of Spotify can be unprofitable if we took these new phrases.”

“All of Spotify can be unprofitable if we took these new phrases [from Apple].”

Daniel Ek, Spotify

Ek’s feedback got here following the discharge of the company’s Q4 earnings, which confirmed that Spotify’s paying subscriber rely rose to 236 million throughout the quarter, a 15% YoY enhance. Month-to-month lively customers rose 23% YoY to 602 million. Each numbers exceeded the corporate’s steerage by about 1 million.

Spotify’s subscriber revenues got here in at €3.170 billion (USD $3.40 billion) in This autumn, up 21% YoY on a relentless foreign money foundation. Advert-supported income got here in at €501 million ($538.62 million), up 17% YoY at fixed foreign money.

The corporate’s €75 million quarterly working loss was smaller than steerage.

Certainly, Spotify would have been comfortably worthwhile within the quarter if it hadn’t been on the hook for fees of €143 million ($153.73 million) “associated to the effectivity actions we introduced in December,” Spotify’s outgoing CFO, Paul Vogel, mentioned on the decision. These prices have been related to a discount in headcount of 1,500, which reduced the company’s workforce by 17%.

Listed here are just a few different issues we realized on the corporate’s earnings name…


Spotify isn’t performed making efficiencies

Ek and Vogel made it clear on the decision that the corporate’s push for effectivity – which, amongst different issues, resulted in 2,300 job cuts last year, in addition to the shutting down of some Spotify programming – will proceed in 2024.

“Seeking to 2024, it’s best to count on a continuation of what you noticed in 2023 – sturdy product growth which results in sturdy progress, however with an elevated give attention to monetization and effectivity, which in flip drives profitability,” Ek mentioned.

Requested to touch upon additional efficiencies, Ek mentioned that “we don’t understand how far that can go,” however “there’s nonetheless some” forward. Nevertheless, he famous that “a very powerful factor for us… is long-term progress, nonetheless, for the corporate. In order that’s what we’ll optimize for.”

“I believe you’re going to see us be extra diligent in shutting down issues that maybe have kind of labored, however could not work as nicely going ahead into the longer term.”

Daniel Ek, Spotify

Nevertheless, in a follow-up later within the name, Ek mentioned that when it comes efficiencies, “we have now truly gone by way of all of the arduous stuff this previous 12 months,” maybe indicating that any future cost-cutting measures received’t be as jarring as those seen in 2023.

Ek added that Spotify has “on no account” totally switched to an efficiency-first mindset.

“That is [the] notion of being relentlessly resourceful. For me which means to suppose consistently concerning the sources [we have] and never simply take into consideration getting extra of them, however desirous about how we reallocate, consistently, the whole lot we’re doing to the highest-impact use case and… I don’t suppose we’re [there] but.”

He added that “the hurdle charges for any new kind of investments might be a lot increased than what [they have] been. And extra importantly, I believe you’re going to see us be extra diligent in shutting down issues that maybe have kind of labored, however could not work as nicely going ahead into the longer term.”


Non-exclusive podcast offers like Joe Rogan’s supply higher advert income potential

Spotify recently renewed its deal for the world’s hottest podcast – The Joe Rogan Expertise. Nevertheless, that new deal – reported to be price $250 million – differs from the unique one Spotify signed with Rogan in 2020, in that it now not offers Spotify exclusivity.

Underneath the brand new settlement, Spotify might be accountable for distribution and advert gross sales for Rogan’s present, and Rogan will obtain a assured minimal price in addition to a share of advert income.

Whereas the unique offers Spotify signed with podcasters have been “internet constructive,” they have been “not driving as a lot [revenue] as the chance that we see on the advert aspect,” Ek mentioned on the decision.

Moreover, broadening distribution of podcasts permits Spotify to be higher aligned with creators, who “clearly [want] to be on many alternative platforms and [want] to have as huge of an viewers as potential,” Ek mentioned.

He added: “I really feel like with these new offers that we’ve been making, for many of 2023, we’re ready the place we’re truly higher aligned with [creators], we will each ship the expansion charge and we’re equally incentivized to drive viewers progress, and naturally, then additionally drive income progress as a result of [Spotify and creators] each share in that upside.”

“We have now doubled down on the offers that labored, and we have now bought actually all through 2023, gotten out of a variety of the offers that didn’t work,” mentioned Ek.

He added: “Once we walked into podcasting, we went in with a number of methods directly. We did exclusives… however we additionally did our personal and unique programming, and we additionally did licensed nonexclusive offers, too… I believe many individuals [thought] that this was an all-out unique effort just like that of Netflix. However we mentioned we take far more of an ‘alternative’ strategy to the technique and we’re going to attempt many alternative issues.”Music Enterprise Worldwide

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