Tencent Music, Spotify’s strategic partner in China, is valued at over $12B


Spotify has finally filed to go public, and in doing so the Swedish company has shed light on another huge music company that has been tipped for IPO — Tencent Music — which is now valued at over $12 billion.

Tencent and Spotify announced a share swap in December that saw each side take an undisclosed slice of the other for strategic purposes going forward. According to Spotify’s filing, it took nine percent of Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) which it valued at €910 million at the time. That translates to a total valuation of €10.11 billion, or $12.3 billion, although Spotify includes 10 percent leeway above and below that figure.

In exchange, Tencent — which became Asia’s first $500 billion business last year — got 7.5 percent of Spotify to become one of its largest shareholders. It bought its stake using a mix of newly issued shares and secondary, but the value of that holding is around $1.5 billion based on a rough $20 billion valuation for Spotify.

TME was reportedly raising money at a valuation of around $10 billion in October, according to a Bloomberg report, and it has been tipped to raise as much as $1 billion in a listing that could happen this year. More color on this Spotify — both in terms of TME’s valuation and Tencent’s position as a major Spotify investor — give a little more insight into how the two companies might work together.

“Spotify believes the Tencent Transactions allow Spotify to invest in the long term potential of the music market in China and, in turn, TME to invest in the long term potential of the music market outside of China,” Spotify wrote in its filing.

Spotify also disclosed that it holds a registered trademark on its name in China. One source close to the company who spoke to TechCrunch in recent weeks said that Spotify had actively looked into the potential of the Chinese market a number of years, going as far as sending engineers and business development staff to meet with prospective partners.

In Tencent, it has found perhaps the most ideal partner should Spotify decide to pursue opportunities in China.

And there are plenty of opportunities. TME is the leading player in a market where there are over 20 million paying streaming customers with more growth to come.

China’s music industry itself grossed 320.5 billion yuan ($48.33 billion) in 2016 with eight percent annual growth, according to a report. Licensed streaming revenue grew by one-third to push revenue from music and video copyright to 183 million yuan.

Best known for its WeChat messaging app, which is China’s go-to chat service, Tencent offers three services — ‘QQ Music’, ‘Kugou’ and ‘Kuwo’ — while it also operates Joox in Southeast Asia and has invested in U.S. karaoke app Smule.

Earlier this week, Tencent also brokered another music alliance after it led a $115 million investment in India-based music streaming service Gaana.

Outside of music, Tencent has invested widely in overseas technology companies. Its investments have included Tesla, Snap, HERE, Amazon rival Flipkart, Uber competitor Ola, and more.

Featured Image: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Spotify hits 70 million subscribers


Ahead of going public, Spotify just announced it’s killing it on the subscriber front. As of today, Spotify has 70 million subscribers compared to Apple Music’s 30 million. Last July, Spotify had more than 60 million paid listeners and over 140 million active users.

There’s essentially no better time than one day after news leaks about Spotify’s confidential filing to go public to announce a new milestone. Just yesterday, Axios broke the news that Spotify filed with the SEC at the end of December.

However, TechCrunch’s Katie Roof has heard differently, citing sources who say Spotify is targeting a debut for the first quarter of this year. As Roof notes, there is also talk that it might not be an IPO, but rather a direct listing on the stock market that does not require a fundraising event.

Spotify’s milestone also comes shortly after Wixen Music Publishing hit the music streaming company with a $1.6 billion lawsuit. The suit, filed December 29, alleges copyright infringement, specifically alleging Spotify is using thousands of its songs without a proper license. The lawsuit seeks at least $1.6 billion in damages and injunctive relief.

Featured Image: Antoine Antoniol / Contributor/Getty Images