Spotify Value Rises to $8 Billion

SPOSpotify Ltd. received a valuation topping $8 billion in its latest round of funding as the world?s largest subscription music-streaming service said its number of customers exceeded 75 million.

The company raised money from phone carrier TeliaSonera AB, which said Wednesday it paid $115 million for a 1.4 percent stake. Other investors in the $526 million financing round include Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Baillie Gifford & Co., the Wall Street Journal reported.

Spotify continues to amass funds as it tries to boost its subscription service before Apple Inc. gains more customers for its updated music offering, unveiled this week. Both Apple and Spotify give users access to more than 30 million songs, and each service costs $9.99 a month.

?This is a field where you will see a lot of competition and where it?s very clear that Spotify has taken a lead,? TeliaSonera Chief Executive Officer Johan Dennelind said by phone. ?We will see more and more shifting towards streaming in music and other things.?

With music purchases shrinking in stores and online, streaming has emerged as the industry?s primary source of growth. Record labels acknowledge its significance, while complaining streaming has failed to replace lost retail sales.

Spotify now has more than 20 million paying subscribers and more than 75 million active users, it said in a statement on its website Wednesday. The company said it has paid more than $3 billion in royalties to artists and record labels since its start 6 1/2 ago.

Albums Pulled

CEO Daniel Ek has tackled criticism from artists who said payments from the music service aren?t trickling down into their pockets. Taylor Swift removed her music from Spotify last year just as her new album was released.

Though Apple remains the largest music retailer in the world, its place as an industry leader is being challenged. More than a quarter of Spotify?s users pay for the ad-free subscription at a time when the music industry?s revenue from streaming is on pace to exceed sales from downloads. Music is the most popular genre on Google Inc.?s YouTube?s video service, which attracts more than 1 billion users a month.

Pandora Media Inc., which runs an ad-supported Web radio, reported 79.2 million active listeners at the end of the first quarter. The company has a market value of $3.6 billion.

Spotify had been in the process of raising new financing at a valuation of about $8 billion, twice what it was worth when it raised money at the end of 2013, Bloomberg reported April 11. A spokeswoman for Spotify wasn?t immediately available to comment on the most recent funding round.

Spotify is also expanding its partnership with TeliaSonera, working with the Swedish carrier on media distribution, customer and data analysis and advertising.

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