A fresh round of funding buys Spotify the chance to stay private for a little while longer. The Wall Street Journal reports that the streaming music-on-demand service is on the verge of closing a $400 million round of private investment from Goldman Sachs and Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth investment fund. Spotify declined to comment.
After this deal is consummated, it would give Spotify a market valuation of $8.4 billion, which would dwarf both streaming on-demand music competitors like Rdio, Rhapsody and Deezer and nondeclarative streaming companies like Pandora, which is valued at more than $3.5 billion. The deal, which may reflect the fact that raising money privately is easier these days, also suggests that a Spotify IPO may be a ways off.
At the moment, Spotify is the largest pure-play streaming on-demand music service on the market. It has 15 million paying subscribers worldwide, plus another 45 million active users who use ad-supported tiers on both computers and mobile devices. It recently entered into an exclusive partnership to launch its service inside the two most recent iterations of Sony’s PlayStation video game console, and it also is available in a number of cars and in Uber. Though many of its competitors have followed suit, integrating their product into car stereos and high-end home audio products, Spotify enjoys a sizable lead in its race against the current field: Its total of 15 million paying subscribers is greater than Rhapsody, Rdio and Tidal combined.
But Spotify’s most formidable competition has not yet entered the race. Apple, which acquired Beats Music when it purchased Beats Electronics for $3 billion last year, reportedly will launch a rival on-demand streaming music service when it releases the latest version of its operation system this summer. The service, which reportedly will not include a free tier, will feature a wide variety of curated playlists, supervised by people ranging from famed British DJ Zane Lowe to a not-yet-named music journalist.