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Spotify is beating Apple. Now what?

Spotify managed to survive a formidable streaming opponent: Apple. But with billions of dollars in losses adding up, the question is: at what cost?

Posted: Apr 4, 2018 9:42 PM
Updated: Apr 4, 2018 9:42 PM

Spotify's arrival on Wall Street is music to the ears of some of Asia's biggest tech companies.

Chinese social media and entertainment firm Tencent and Japanese electronics icon Sony are two of the music streaming platform's biggest backers.

Tencent holds a 7.5% stake in Spotify, according to a regulatory filing. After Spotify shares started trading Tuesday, that stake is now valued at about $2 billion.

Spotify opened at $165.90 a share on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock later fell, closing below $150 a share and giving the company a market value of nearly $30 billion.

Spotify and Tencent's music subsidiary announced a share swap in December, taking minority stakes in each other ahead of expected stock market listings this year.

Related: Spotify valued at nearly $30 billion in unusual Wall Street debut

Tencent Music dominates music streaming in China through its QQ Music, KuGou and Kuwo platforms.

It also has a stranglehold on the streaming of mainstream Western music in China through exclusive deals with Sony Music, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. Under the arrangement, Tencent gets to decide which songs rivals can stream.

Tencent Music is reportedly preparing for an initial public offering later this year.

Spotify owns about 9% of Tencent Music, a stake valued at €910 million ($1.1 billion), according to a regulatory filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. That puts Tencent Music's overall valuation at around €10.1 billion ($12.5 billion).

Related: China's big streaming shift: Paying instead of pirating

Like some other major recording labels, Sony Music owns a big chunk of Spotify. Its 5.7% stake is now worth around $1.5 billion.

The streaming music industry has given a boost to Sony's music business, whose artists include Beyoncé, DJ Khaled and Justin Timberlake.

Sony Music has reported double-digit revenue growth for the past three quarters, citing an "increase in recorded music sales due to an increase in digital streaming revenues."

Spotify's other top shareholders are co-founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, hedge fund Tiger Global and venture capital firm TCV.

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