Spotify adds subscribers with podcasts push

 Spotify adds subscribers with podcasts push

Spotify added more users than expected at the end of last year as people stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic tuned in to streaming music and podcasts like “The Joe Rogan Experience,” the company said on Wednesday.

Despite the uptick, investors sent shares of the Swedish streamer down 9 percent after Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek predicted a slower start to 2021.

For the quarter that ended in December, Spotify logged 345 million total monthly users, topping the high end of its guidance and marking a 27 percent rise from the year-ago period. Subscribers who pay for the service without advertising, grew 155 million, up 24 percent from a year earlier. Spotify said it added a record 30 million sign ups for 2020.

The uptick helped drive quarterly revenue 17 percent to $2.6 billion. The company posted a net loss of $150 million.

Wall Street has been critical of Spotify’s massive podcast push in the last year, but Ek touted the company’s 2.2 million podcasts as central to the fourth-quarter growth. And he gave a shout out to exclusive podcasts, such as “The Joe Rogan Experience,” as key to driving a “meaningful uptick in audience.”

Rogan’s show was the top podcast on the platform in 17 markets, said Ek said, who also cited interest in the company’s multi-year deal with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to host and produce podcasts for Spotify, which resulted in a holiday special episode in December.

Other US launches have included “Dare to Lead with Brene Brown,” “10 Songs that Made Me,” “The Ringer Music Show,” and “The Get Up Morning Show.”

Despite the strong subscriber growth, Ek said he remained cautious going into 2021 as the pandemic will continue to bring “more uncertainty than any normal year.”

As a result the company predicted minimal subscriber growth, which knocked the stock down nearly 9 percent in early trading. Spotify predicted total subscribers of between 354 million and 364 million in the first quarter, while paying subscribers are expected to reach between 155 million to 158 million.

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