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SPOTIFY HITS 299M USERS

Spotify’s Monthly Active Users total grew 29% to 299m in the second quarter of 2020 as the company announced it now has 139m premium subscribers, a rise of 27%.

“Our business performed well in Q2 and continues to operate at a high level despite the continuing uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic,” Spotify said in its Q2 letter to shareholders. After a dip in listening hours early in the pandemic, global consumption hours, except in Latin America, recovered to pre-COVID levels by 6/30, the company reported. 

Ek theorized that the explosion in use of smart devices and smart households has greatly assisted usage numbers in North America and Europe while Latin America has been slower to adopt those smart technologies.

Q2 revenue of €1.89b ($2.2b) was up 13% over last year, as expected, with gross profit hitting €479m. Gross Margin finished at 25.4% in Q2 which exceeded  expectations and finished above the high end of the guidance range.

A spike in its stock price led to a greater than expected loss in the quarter of €356m, which Spotify attributed to “social charges,” payroll taxes associated with salaries and benefits, particularly in Europe.

Social Charges came in €126 million higher than planned.  Excluding the higher than planned social charges, Operating Loss would have finished better than the forecast.

By the end of the year, Spotify expects to have 328m-348m MAUs, 146m-153m premium subs and more than €2.05b in revenue.

Podcasts are listened to by 21% of Spotify users, up 19% from Q1 2020. About half of the podcast catalog of more than 1.5m were first posted in 2020.

Ek said the company is seeing “the beginning of a flywheel” now that the company is going after all of audio. “With every piece of content we’re adding, we’re creating more engagement,” Ek said during a call with investors. “[Users are] sharing on social media more, and more people are learning about what’s going on at Spotify and more and more creators want to be on Spotify. It’s happening at  a faster clip that we’ve seen before. We’re very encouraged by that.”

Ek discussed the arrival of video on the site, cautioning that it would never be a focus of the site and that it’s mainly a tool for podcasters. “It’s yet another capability we’re adding for creators to connect with fans—it’s another innovation. We are an audio-first platform. … Don’t look at it as YouTube or Snap—it’s an added capability. The share of video on Spotify is low now but it will be growing.”

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