who owns Spotify? Daniel Ek Still Rules As No. 1 Owner!

Spotify is the worlds largest music streaming business valued at over $27 billion. But who owns Spotify now? On April 3rd 2018, the Swedish based company Spotify was listed on the stock market with the stock symbol SPOT. The stock initially opened at $165.90 but by the end of its first day of trading, the

Gary Fox

Who Owns Spotify

Spotify is the worlds largest music streaming business valued at over $27 billion. But who owns Spotify now?

On April 3rd 2018, the Swedish based company Spotify was listed on the stock market with the stock symbol SPOT.

The stock initially opened at $165.90 but by the end of its first day of trading, the price came down to $149.01, roughly a ten per cent drop. Not a disaster but not a rapturous success.

After some highs and lows in the last year, its average in the last year has been $139.60.

The big question though is who owns stocks in Spotify and who owns it.

Company name: Spotify
Ticker symbol: SPOT
Annual revenue: 2023: $6.76 Billion
Profit | Net Income: 2023: -$73 Million
Market Cap: $58.22 billion (April 2024)
Link: Spotify
Year founded: 2006
Founders: Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon
Launch date: October, 2008
Company CEO: Daniel Ek
Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden
Number of employees: 4,405
Type of business: Public
  • Spotify Free
  • Spotify Premium
  • Spotify Podcasts

Fast Facts About Spotify

Spotify Growth In Users
Spotify Growth In Users
  • Apple Music
  • Amazon Music
  • Deezer
  • Google Play
  • Pandora
  • Soundcloud
  • Tidal
  • Spotify is the most popular global audio streaming subscription service.
  • Premium Subscribers grew 29% year-over-year as of December 31, 2019, to 124 million.
  • In 2019, Our Premium
  • The Global music industry grew by 10% to $19.1 billion in 2018.
  • Since its launch, Spotify has paid out more than $15 billion in royalties to artists, music labels and publishers.
  • 16% of monthly active users listen to at least one podcast a month.
  • Spotify operates currently in 79 countries and territories.
  • As of Dec 31 2019, Spotify had 124 million and 96 million Premium Subscribers. That is twice the subscriber base of Apple Music.

Who Owns Spotify

Who Owns Spotify
Who Owns Spotify – The Top Institutions and Individual Shareholders

As of December 31, 2019, our founders, Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, beneficially owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, ordinary shares and beneficiary certificates representing 33.6% and 43.8% of the combined voting power of all of our outstanding voting securities, respectively (or 77.4% in the aggregate).

Source: Spotify SEC filing

As a result of this ownership or control of our voting securities, if our founders act together, they will have control over the outcome of substantially all matters submitted to our shareholders for approval, including the election of directors.

The founders still have significant voting rights Source: Spotify SEC filing

Daniel Ek: CEO

Stockholm-born Daniel Ek is the co-founder and current CEO. Ek has over 34 million shares which makes him the largest single shareholder of Spotify.

Ek from an early age was an entrepreneur. From building websites and recruiting fellow students to start a company called Advertigo which was later sold to Tradedoubler. He then went on to create Spotify with cofounder, Martin Lorentzon. Ek also became the CEO of uTorrent, the file-sharing platform and also held roles as CTO at Stardoll.

Ek’s started his first business at age 13 making websites for clients from his home. As demand grew, he expanded by help recruiting students from his class to work on the websites from the school computer lab. Ek later served as the CTO of a startup called Stardoll before moving on to create Advertigo, an online advertising company. In 2006, Advertigo sold to TradeDoubler where he met his Spotify co-founder Martin Lorentzon. They went onto Ek incorporated Spotify AB in Stockholm, Sweden in 2006.

Martin Lorentzon: Co-founder

Martin Lorentzon has the second largest number of shares at just over 22 million.

In September 1999 Lorentzon and Hagnö founded Netstrategy that later became the leading European marketplace Tradedoubler. In 2005 he sold his Tradedoubler option for US$70 million. In March 2006 Tradedoubler bought advertising service Advertigo which was created by young Daniel Ek. The rest is history as they worked together to create the global music streaming giant that we know today.

Technology Cross Management

Founded in 1995, Technology Cross Management (TCV) is a venture capital company that invests in the technology industry. TCV has over 8 million shares in Spotify.

Tencent Music Entertainment

In December 2017, Spotify and Tencent’s music division, Tencent Music Entertainment (TME), agreed to swap shares and invest in each other’s business. This alliance has given Spotify gained a 9% stake in TME.

Tencent Holdings hold over 16 million shares which represents a 9.1% stake in Spotify.

Spotify Business Model

Spotify is creating a complete ecosystem in the music industry and is expanding into the production side of the business as well as growing the ‘product’ side. The Spotify business model is proving to a strong adversary to Apple and Google who also have ambitions to grow their share of the music streaming industry.

Spotify Business Model
Spotify Business model

Who Spotify Owns – Latest Acquisitions

  • Anchor FM – Feb 14, 2019. Spotify acquired Anchor FM Inc. (“Anchor”), a software company that enables users to create and distribute their own podcasts, for €136 million.
  • Gimlet Media – Feb 15, 2019. Spotify acquired Gimlet Media Inc. (“Gimlet”), an independent producer of podcast content, for €172 million.
  • Cutler Media – Apr 1, 2019. Spotify acquired Cutler Media, LLC (“Parcast”), a premier storytelling podcast studio, for €49 million.

The portfolio of institutions will change. But who owns Spotify at the individual level is unlikely to change with Daniel Ek remaining the largest shareholder.

Spotify is now facing some big challenges as Apple, Google and many others are looking to compete for Spotify’s enviable number one slot of the music streaming industry.

What will be interesting to watch now is how the Tencent relationship plays out, and if Spotify’s game plan to expand into podcasts will help it become more profitable.

Spotify Earnings Infographic

Spotify Earnings Infographic 2020
Spotify earnings infographic 2020

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