Spotify IPO set for April

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Ek made a direct pitch to retail investors during a public webcast that stood in place of a traditional closed-door "road show" typically used to woo institutional investors in initial public offerings (IPOs).

The direct listing will allow the Stockholm-based company to begin life as a debt-free public company, enabling it to complete a series of transactions agreed in December with late-stage investors that converts their debt holdings into equity, freeing it of heavy financing costs that drove up 2017 losses.

Barry McCarthy, CFO at Spotify spoke about the company's long term operating goals which includes the company targeting a revenue growth of 25 to 35 per cent.

With 71 million subscribers at the end of 2017, Spotify is the leader in streaming music. That will keep it ahead of Apple, the company believes.

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Apple Music has reached 38 million subscribers, a gain of 2 million in just over a month, the company's SVP Eddy Cue said during a chat with CNN's Dylan Byers at the South by Southwest Conference on Monday, according to 9to5Mac.

With an increasing number of streaming music competitors-Apple Inc., Pandora Media Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc. and others-Spotify told possible investors Thursday that it is trying to differentiate itself and not become just one of many music platforms.

Ek portrayed Spotify as an underdog not tied to a major technology company, and that its strategy is to be a ubiquitous music service across phones, smart speakers, and desktops from various makers. Executives also said they want any investor-rather than a curated group-to have the chance to buy shares on the first day. It said it plans for its shares to start trading April 3 and will provide financial guidance on March 26. Advertising makes up only about 10 percent of Spotify's current revenue, and McCarthy said he would be "thrilled" if Spotify could pull in 20 percent of its revenue from ads, although he expressed some doubt about whether the company could hit that mark. Spotify is still the undisputable lead in this market as well. "Now it remains to be seen whether we will win, but that's the game we are playing", he said.

Spotify was founded more than a decade ago and helped shift the music industry from the era of illegal downloads to legal streaming on demand.

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