Investors reacted negatively -- most likely to lower guidance on MAUs -- by sending Spotify’s share price down 10% to $213.15, barely above the stock’s lowest point in the last 12 months, $211.10 reached on May 19, 2021.
Total revenue in the second quarter was 2.33 billion euros ($2.75 billion), up 23% year over year and 9% higher than Q1's 2.15 billion euro ($2.6 billion) tally. Most of Q2 revenue came from subscriber income, which grew 17% y/y to 2.05 billion euros ($2.42 billion), which was at the top of the company's earlier guidance. Ad-supported revenue outperformed, especially compared to a year ago during pandemic-fueled lows, increasing 110% y/y to 275 million euros ($324 million).
The closely-watched average revenue per user (ARPU) metric for premium subscribers was down 3% y/y to 4.29 euros ($5), which the company said was aided by price increases in both Q1 and Q2. Average monthly churn for premium subscriptions was down 23 bps y/y, aided by higher retention-focused efforts like family plans.
Spotify said MAU performance was slow during the first half of the quarter, and pointed to the pandemic-related factors as continuing to weigh down growth in several markets. The company also pointed to a since-resolved issue with a third party platform that led to “unexpected intake friction” regarding user signups.
Gross margin, the remainder after royalties and other content associated, was 28.4% of total revenue compared to 25.5% in Q1. The company said the improvement was driven by the release of accruals for earlier publishing royalty estimates -- meaning money set aside for royalties were reclassified as revenue -- and aided by a revenue shift towards podcasts across the platform and the positive impact of its two-sided marketplace.
Spotify reported operating profit of 12 million euros, down slightly from 14 million in Q1. Operating expenses totaled 651 million euros ($768 million) for the quarter. Spotify currently has 7,085 full time employees globally, up from 6,049 a year ago.
Spotify said that its business has more than 3.1 billion euros ($3.6 billion) in liquidity -- 2.4 billion euros from cash -- and that its free cash flow for the quarter was 34 million euros ($40 million).
Financial metrics (Q2 2021 vs. Q2 2020)
- Revenue: €2.331 billion up 23% from €1.89 billion
- Gross margin: 28.4% vs. 25.4%
- Operating profit (loss): €12 million vs -€167 million
- Free cash flow: €34 million vs €27 million
- Subscribers: 165 million up 20% from 138 million
- Ad-supported listeners: 210 million up 24% from 170 million
- Total listeners (MAUs): 365 million up 22% from 299 million
- Revenue: €2.31 billion to €2.51 billion
- Subscribers: 170 million to 174 million
- MAUs: 377 to 382 million
This article will be updated.