Two million Spotify users blocking ads with unauthorised apps

Spotify says about 2 mln users blocked ads without paying

Spotify has garnered the attention of the global music community as it prepares to list on the New York Stock Exchange from April 3. That includes 71 million paying premium subscribers.

According to Spotify, the firm's paid subscriber base is increasing steadily, from 30 million paid subscribers in March 2015, to 70 million in January this year.

This should take quarterly revenues 22-27 percent higher, to Euro 1.10-1.15 billion in Q1, as negative currency effects dampen the subscriber growth.

Richard Windsor, an independent financial analyst based in Abu Dhabi, said that, at first appearance, the outlook seemed created to give the company a very low hurdle it can clear easily in its early days as a public company. Its next biggest competitor, Apple Music, said earlier this month it had reached 38 million subscribers, up by 2 million in a little more than one month. So many questions remain about Spotify, its long term business model and this route to the public.

But millions of users have been bypassing the monthly fee of $9.99 to enjoy Spotify Premium service effortlessly by using old-fashioned ad-blocking applications. The company has never operated at a profit.

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In a filing Tuesday, Spotify said about 31% of its outstanding shares (55.7 million of 178.1 million total) will be available for sale on the first day of trading.

The company said it expects the total number of users to increase to 170m from 157m past year.

Those full-year projections also bear an operating loss of €230-330 million ($371-$532 million), which will factor in the one-off cost of its direct listing, estimated at about €35-40 million (and booked for Q2).

Twenty-three million is, in turn, exactly the same number that the company's subscriber base grew by in 2017. The company wants to reach 198 to 208 million active users by the end of the year.

Gross margins for the year and first quarter are expected to rise between 23-25 percent. The company goes out on the stock exchange without the direct support of traditional poems - a recipe for potential high volatility in early trading.

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