Spotify planning direct listing that stops short of IPO

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift

Spotify and Kanye are two titans in their fields, but the news points to a trend: Streaming is the new normal for how Americans listen to music.

That would mark a departure from the typical IPO, in which new investors buy shares from the company or its early investors, or both, the night before they start trading.

Spotify Ltd., owner of the popular music streaming service, is considering listing its shares on public exchanges without raising any new money, according to a person familiar with the company's plans, Bloomberg reports.

Those terms are thought to require revision should the direct listing go ahead.

A direct listing doesn't dilute the shareholdings of or put limitations on existing investors, and removes some of the risks associated with a traditional initial public offering.

In a direct listing, Spotify wouldn't raise money or use underwriters.

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In 2015, Spotify was valued at $8.5 billion.

This is expected to extend to other music publishing companies as Spotify readies for its IPO.

During the last two years, Spotify and Universal Music Group's negotiations for a long-term licensing agreement gradually turned into media-business brinkmanship, Billboard scribbler Rob Levine writes yesterday.

Spotify spokesperson Jonathan Price at the time said that exclusives like these were bad for artists and fans alike: "Artists want as many fans as possible to hear the music, and fans want to hear the music they're excited about".

Spotify will now block free users from playing new albums for a period of two weeks, but they will still allow them to stream the singles that have been released.

With the new Spotify/UMG agreement, industry insiders will be waiting to see if fellow record giants Warner Music Group and Sony Music strike similar deals.

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