The story of Swedish audio streaming service Spotify is one of growth: more users, more songs and artists available, and also more sales. But for the first time since the IPO in 2018, the stock market has seen a different trend: a downward trend. The stock is currently more than 65 percent lower than a year ago. In mid-October, Spotify’s share price reached a record low of $78.50. The immediate cause was the news that Chinese TikTok owner Bytedance is in talks with music labels to roll out its music streaming service Resso worldwide. That service, now only available in India, Indonesia and Brazil, would eventually be linked to TikTok, so that the more than a billion users of that popular video app can directly look up the songs they discover there in Resso. Should that happen, Bytedance will have a hard time overtaking Spotify, which has taken a huge lead over the competition. Worldwide, 433 million people now listen to Spotify every month. An increase of almost 20 percent from the 365 million a year ago. In comparison: a competitor like Apple Music has just under 100 million users. Other providers such as YouTube Music from Google and Amazon Music roughly half that. Not everyone agrees with the lower valuation that Spotify, like other listed streaming services, such as Netflix, has to deal with. According to analyst Andrew Marok of investment bank Raymond James, streaming services are lumped together too much by investors. Streaming music is a much more stable market than movies and series, where providers face price competition and higher churn due to users dropping out who switch to other platforms. Spotify with its loyal crowd of listeners does not know that churn , Marok argued in June. Spotify is also by far the most popular platform in the Netherlands, says analyst Ed Achterberg of market researcher Telecompaper. His data shows that Spotify has about 40 percent of the market here. Significantly more than YouTube Music (around 10 percent) and Apple Music (under 5 percent). “Young people in particular have Spotify on their mobile phones en masse. The appreciation for the app is particularly good among the Dutch, and the majority also say they recommend the app to others,” says Achterberg. Not all those satisfied users provide Spotify (annual turnover 9.7 billion euros) with the same amount of revenue. The company has 188 million Premium subscribers worldwide. These are people who pay monthly and listen to music ad-free. This group generated 2.5 billion euros in turnover for the company in the previous quarter. An even larger group of 256 million users listens for free, but hears commercials in between. Spotify generated 360 million euros in advertising revenue in the past quarter. In short, almost 90 percent of the revenue was collected from about 40 percent of the users. In addition, a quarterly loss of 194 million euros was reported below the line, mainly due to sharply increased personnel costs, acquisitions and marketing aimed at young people and emerging markets. Because the music service is looking for more sources of income. The company expects to make a profit from podcasts within two years. It invested about 1 billion euros in this, which was at the expense of profit and which also deterred the necessary investors. Spotify also sees a future in audiobooks. It paid 117 million euros for audiobook platform Findaway. Whether Spotify really is more than just music, the near future will show. Spotify will release its third-quarter results on Tuesday. Chris Koenis A version of this article also appeared in the newspaper of October 24, 2022