Are We Profitable Yet? Spotify Reports Double-Digit Subscriber Growth, $80.6 Million Operating Loss for Q4 2023 Amid Efficiency Push

spotify earnings q4 2023
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spotify earnings q4 2023
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A newly released Spotify earnings report has revealed double-digit YoY user growth and a sizable operating loss for the business during Q4 2023. Photo Credit: Alexander Shatov

Spotify’s monthly active users (MAUs) surpassed 600 million during 2023’s final quarter, when total subscribers approached 240 million but profit failed to materialize, according to a new earnings report.

The Stockholm-based audio platform posted its Q4 financials today, following a massive round of layoffs in December and amid an adjacent push for operational efficiency. As of the fourth quarter, Spotify MAUs specifically numbered 602 million, up about 5% quarterly and 23% year over year (YoY), per the breakdown.

In keeping with a years-running trend, as streaming continues to catch on in emerging markets, Spotify attributed 32% of these MAUs to Rest of World. That overly broad classification encompasses all nations outside North America (19% of MAUs), Latin America (22%), and Europe (28%).

Moreover, the MAU percentages behind Latin America as well as Rest of World each increased by 1% from Q3 2023, and should this growth rate hold even mostly steady throughout 2024, the regions could account for 60% of Spotify’s users in the not-so-distant future.

Nevertheless, Spotify’s 236 million subscribers (up 15% YoY and 4.4% quarterly) remained heavily concentrated in North America (27%) and Europe (38%) during Q4, the company indicated.

Shifting to core financials, Spotify attached €3.67 billion (currently $3.95 billion) in revenue to the fourth quarter, up roughly 9.4% quarterly and 16% YoY (or 20% when excluding “unfavorable currency movements”).

That sum was fueled by a 16.7% YoY boost for subscriptions revenue (€3.17 billion/$3.41 billion total) and an 11.6% YoY improvement on the advert side (€501 million/$538.77 million total). And with execs having previously acknowledged massive once-off costs in connection with the aforementioned layoffs, Spotify reported a smaller-than-expected €75 million ($80.65 million) Q4 operating loss.

Regarding noteworthy takeaways from the Q4 earnings call, CEO Daniel Ek, a well-known critic of Apple, claimed that his business had emerged as “the number-two provider of audiobooks behind Audible” on the quarter.

Additionally, Spotify’s podcasting operations came “very close to break even” in Q4, per Ek, who later took the opportunity to reiterate his opposition to Apple’s App Store policies. And two-sided marketplace initiatives, outgoing CFO Paul Vogel relayed, “will be a key contributor” to gross margin improvements during 2024.

Looking ahead to the remainder of Q1 2024, Spotify is anticipating adding 16 million MAUs (including three million subscribers), with revenue of €3.6 billion ($3.87 billion) and €180 million ($193.52 million) in operating profit. Spotify stock (NYSE: SPOT) spiked to a 52-week high of $248.67 per share when the market opened before settling into the mid-$230s range.