Spotify sees itself as much more than a music streaming platform. Investors have been there for a long time.
The company presented an ambitious vision on Monday in a two-hour webcast, touting new and upcoming offerings for listeners, musicians, podcasters and advertisers. These include a new high-fidelity music streaming service for subscribers, more tools for musicians and podcasters to expand their revenue streams, and significant international expansion that will bring the service into 85 new markets this year. For podcasting – which was of particular interest to investors – Spotify added a new eight-episode series with former President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen.
A news dump, in other words. And the one that initially appealed to investors, pushing Spotify’s share price up 5% before a massive tech sell-off sent stocks back into the red when trading ended on Monday. Spotify is still up over 11% year-to-date and around 138% over the past 12 months, surpassing many other hot streaming names like Netflix and Disney. Shares of Warner Music Group, which as one of the world’s largest record labels controls some of the most sought-after music that Spotify subscribers listen to, have actually lost around 4% so far this year.
Opportunities beyond music streaming are a major draw for Spotify investors right now. The big increase in action over the past year is mainly due to the hype generated by new podcast offerings, with actors like Joe Rogan, Kim Kardashian and DC Comics. Even the royal family is launching into the action; Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made a cameo appearance at Monday’s event to tout their own exclusive Spotify podcast, coming later this year.
But while the number of podcasts on Spotify tripled last year to 2.2 million, the company is yet to release financial details of the business. The hugely popular “Joe Rogan Experience” became exclusive to Spotify on December 1, but the company only said on its fourth quarter call on February 4 that the program “has positively contributed to user growth on the platform. “. In a note following the results, Credit Suisse’s Brian Russo said the company’s outlook for the current year “does little to suggest that this content is causing an inflection in the business.”