Spotify Job Listing Fuels IPO Speculation

A new job listing at Spotify seems to bolster rumors of an IPO.

First reported by Reuters, the listing, for an "External Reporting Specialist," states as its first requirement of the new hire to "prepare the company for international financial standards." Though Reuters' initial report says the listing mentions the Securities and Exchange Commission -- the organization through which initial public offerings are filed and approved  -- any mention has been since removed from Spotify's website.

The company raised $250 million last November, mostly from Technology Crossover Ventures, on the strength of a valuation over $4 billion. Investors' desire to see a return on their high stakes in the company have contributed to speculation on an IPO, especially since the company has remained unprofitable for much of its run. (Spotify paid out nearly $500 million to music rightsholders last year.) That unprofitability is part of the plan, however -- its model is based on reaching a massive scale in order to offset those significant royalty obligations, a tack that has seemed to benefit the music industry in Norway and Sweden, where Spotify's penetration has driven growth.

Music streaming services have a crowded field in which to compete, with the recent (strong) entry by Beats Music, as well as a rumored YouTube music service likely to launch sometime this year, in addition to the long shadow cast over all of them by Pandora.