Despite its status as a music streaming service, Spotify is trying to make a move in a socially-distanced world. With a majority stake held by Vivendi, it is generating revenue from paying subscribers and advertising. Its broader aim is to drive engagement beyond the music realm.
Vivendi owns a majority stake in the company
Vivendi is a French media conglomerate with a majority stake in Universal Music Group. The company’s revenue grew 13.5% in the third quarter of the year, surpassing analysts’ estimates. Its EBITA rose by 16.6% year-on-year to EUR567m (US$619m) in the first nine months of the year.
Vivendi plans to list a portion of UMG on the public markets in 2023. It also wants to take control of French media Lagardere. Its other businesses include advertising agency Havas, book publisher Editis, and pay-TV provider Canal Plus. It also owns the global digital content distribution platform Dailymotion.
The listing marks the end of the long process of splitting up Vivendi’s ownership. Vincent Bollore is the billionaire who controls the Bollore Group. He bought Vivendi when the group was heavily indebted. His family has since invested in the company, and the Bollores have grown it into a global powerhouse.
Vivendi’s other businesses are struggling. Vivendi’s net debt is 2.353B euros ($2.82bn), more than the average US counterpart. In the past eight years, revenues have plunged due to online piracy. The recorded-music industry was on the brink of collapse, but it has come back strongly thanks to streaming services such as Spotify.
The French media conglomerate plans to list a portion of UMG in the Amsterdam Stock Exchange by late September. In the first day of trading, shares rose 30 percent. This was a sign of the growing importance of streaming services to the music industry.
UMG’s revenue grew 5% in the first nine months of the year. It also benefited from new licensing deals. The company has faith in a new album from Voyager, as well as George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic. The company has also started testing a two-sided marketplace where users can subscribe and pay to sponsor recommendations.
Vivendi’s stake in the company is expected to be distributed in kind. It will retain 10% of UMG for two years before selling the rest. Its shares will then be distributed to shareholders. The company plans to seek approval for its IPO at its shareholders’ meeting on June 22.
It’s owned by Universal Music Group
Despite Universal’s claim to the title of “world’s leading music company”, the company is not yet publicly traded. The French conglomerate Vivendi, which owns the vast majority of UMG, has taken a hands-off approach to its operations.
Universal Music Group’s catalog is the biggest in the industry. It includes a 100 year-old of popular songs and recordings. The company also owns the second-largest music publishing company. The company’s roster includes Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga, Drake, and Ariana Grande. It has wholly owned operations in 60 territories.
The best part is that Universal Music Group has already committed to sharing a small portion of its profits with artists. The company has already paid hundreds of millions of dollars into the bank accounts of its artists. Its distribution division has also launched the music streaming app Digster, which is available in many countries other than the US. It will also be featured in some Spotify playlists.
It’s not surprising that UMG would be the first company to partner with Spotify. The two companies are in many ways complementary. UMG provides the iconic music IP and the company is an early adopter of new products. This deal will also help both companies develop new features and marketing campaigns.
The Spotify-Universal Music Group deal is a win-win situation for the artists, who will be paid for the work they’ve already done, and for the consumers, who will get access to more of the world’s most popular music. The company will also get valuable feedback from its artists about the best way to make Spotify work for them.
The deal also demonstrates how the music industry has changed as a result of streaming technology. The old days of having to produce physical copies of music were overridden by the internet’s ability to distribute songs on demand. With over 70 million songs to choose from, music fans have more choices than ever.
The Spotify-Universal Music Group collaboration is the logical next step in music’s evolution. The deal is the largest multi-year music licensing agreement in the history of the industry.
It’s generating revenue from paying subscribers and advertising
Despite a lack of headline-grabbing growth, Spotify has made a name for itself as a mobile-first, online music streaming service. The company is primarily monetized through premium subscribers and advertising. Spotify’s ad-supported segment accounted for 10% of the company’s revenue in 2017, up from 5% in the prior year.
The company is also expanding its reach with the addition of short form video, including podcasts, concert tickets and merchandise. The company’s advertising platform is also gaining traction, with Spotify Ad Studio improving the efficiency of the platform.
Spotify has also made it more accessible to young music fans through partnerships. The company introduced pricing options for students. They are also testing out ways to make their content more relevant to a mobile audience. The company’s recent announcement of a self-serve advertising platform is also a big step forward.
In the U.S., Spotify saw a 15% y/y growth rate in Q2. The company also added 6 million net new subscribers in the quarter. The company’s total revenue grew 39% in 2017, which was more than double its ad-supported growth. The company also increased its ad impressions by 31%.
The company also recently introduced the Marquee tool, which delivers sponsored recommendations to free users. The company also added the Viral Chart, which is a list of songs that have earned the most streams on Spotify. Moreover, the company has also introduced the “seen on” feature, which allows users to check out songs they’ve heard on other platforms.
Despite a slow start in the U.S., Spotify has found success in converting free users into paying subscribers. The company’s free service consists of radio-like playlists on phones, which allow users to play songs on demand. In addition, the company recently launched a self-serve advertising platform to help advertisers reach more customers.
The company’s ad-supported and premium services also feature some interesting features. For example, the company’s ad-supported free service enables users to listen to radio-like playlists on their phones, which contain intermittent ads. The company also offers sponsored playlists, which display ads from the brand. These sponsored sessions require a click to activate.
It’s attempting to drive broader engagement in a socially-distanced world
Earlier this year, Spotify signed a multi-year licensing agreement with Universal Music Group. Under this deal, Spotify will work to provide UMG with new ways to engage fans. The two companies will also work together on new marketing campaigns and music discovery experiences. According to a Spotify spokesperson, the two companies will provide direct feedback to the Spotify development team in order to make features more engaging for fans. This effort is part of Spotify’s overall effort to drive broader engagement in a socially distant world.
Recently, the company launched a new “album artwork” feature. This feature allows creators to engage users by adding short looping visuals to individual tracks. It also recently added a video podcast feature for select podcasts. The company says these features foster deeper interactions between creators and users.
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