Spotify Ditches SoundCloud Bid (Again)


The Financial Times reported in September that {SoundCloud and Spotify} were in “advanced talks” over an acquisition — things went pretty quiet after that, but we now understand that the deal died this past week. The source told TechCrunch that the company ultimately walked away because it feared that an acquisition could negatively impact its IPO preparation.

Spotify hasn’t officially said it will go public in 2017, but there has been plenty of speculation, including a funding round with incentives tied to a listing. The source said Spotify went cold on SoundCloud because “it doesn’t need an additional licensing headache in a potential IPO year.” That’s in reference to the complexity and financial cost that comes with negotiating with music labels, something that is hugely important to SoundCloud, which has a far larger catalog of tracks than other services because it caters to creatives, indies and remixers.

Spotify is reported to have declined to acquire SoundCloud two other times over the past two years, the FT said, with a proposed price apparently the sticking point on those occasions. Beyond expanding Spotify’s ad network and userbase, a deal was seen as key to strengthening its position as well-funded competitors ramp up their music services.

Music Industry Blog wondered back in September if SoundCloud has already peaked:

Throughout the 2010’s Soundcloud’s growth was impressive, growing from 1 million registered users in May 2010 to 150 million by December 2014. But registered user numbers only ever tell part of the story. The most telling statistic is Soundcloud’s Monthly Active User (MAU) number: 175 million. Impressive enough, and 50 million more than Spotify’s 125 million. But Soundcloud hit that number in August 2014 and it hasn’t reported a bigger number since. In fact, it could well be that Soundcloud hasn’t actually issued a new number since, but instead has simply being restating that number. If it had grown, you can be sure we’d have heard about it. If it had fallen, perhaps not.

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