订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

微博订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

iPad版杂志

安卓手机应用

商业

Spotify:打造流行音乐平台,盈利不重要

Aric Jenkis 2018年06月28日

随着Spotify发展,向唱片公司和其他提供商的版税支出也会增加。

总部位于瑞典斯德哥尔摩的Spotify是全球排名第一的流媒体音乐公司,但如果看看其资产负债表,你可能会有受骗的感觉。尽管付费用户(7500万,仍在增长)和收入稳步增加(上季度约13.6亿美元),Spotify仍在亏损。2018年前三个月亏损4900万美元左右,原因并非无法控制支出,而是供应商失控。是的,没错:随着Spotify发展,向唱片公司和其他提供商的版税支出也会增加。而相关边际成本也是Spotify盈利的基础。

其实没必要如此。另一家流媒体明星公司Netflix就能做到一边维持用户增长,一边控制住剧集费用。可惜Spotify做不到,主要因为跟“三大巨头”——索尼、环球和华纳签订的协议,还有与独立音乐版权代理机构Merlin签署的协议。去年,几家巨头合起来拥有Spotify上85%的音乐版权。

是的,随着不断发展,Spotify是可以跟各家伙伴协商降低费用,也可以找其他收入来源。(首席财务官巴里·麦卡锡认为,电台广告市场规模超过180亿美元。“胜出者能享受巨大回报。”3月他在业绩发布会上表示。)但如果Spotify开始学习Netflix,发力原创内容呢?Spotify能实现盈利么,还是会引起唱片巨头死命反抗?

曾摘得格莱美奖的制作组合J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League成员艾里克·“卢克”·奥提兹表示,由于供应商手中掌握着大量艺人资源,Spotify不太可能终止合作。他认为,如果平台上没有一些经典艺人,例如披头士、王子和麦当娜等,吸引力会急剧下降。“(如果真没了)会变成小众圈子。”他表示,跟音乐平台Bandcamp差不多。

另一方面,巨头们也不愿轻易割舍Spotify每月1.7亿活跃用户。不过巨头们还有别的选择,可以转投苹果音乐之类的竞争平台。“苹果为什么不提供一年免费服务争取Spotify用户呢?”洛杉矶私募股权公司Patriarch Organization首席执行官埃里克·希弗问道。“其实Spotify提供的服务竞争对手都能替代。”

其他一些人则表示乐观。“我觉得艺术家们都很支持Spotify。”美国雪城大学创业学教授大卫·帕克表示。他指出,去年泰勒·斯威夫特就决定重返该平台,而且其数据很方便艺术家使用。

这也意味着Spotify的优势其实比表面上大。“如果想找当今真正流行的音乐,”希弗表示,“Spotify上有很多真正原生流行动态,方便你紧跟热门。”现在对Spotify来说最重要的就是想办法从中盈利。(良辰财富网)

本文首发于2018年6月1日《财富》杂志。

译者:Pessy

审校:夏林

 

Take one look at the balance sheet for the world’s No. 1 music-streaming company, and you might think it’s being a little bit bullied. Despite steadily increasing paid subscribers (75 million and counting) and revenue (about $1.36 billion last quarter), Spotify continues to bleed. The $49 million or so that it lost in the first three months of 2018 wasn’t because the company can’t keep a tight rein on its own spending, but because it can’t keep a rein on its suppliers. Yes, that’s right: As Spotify grows, so do its royalty payouts to record labels and other music providers. And those marginal costs are an anchor on the Stockholm company’s profit potential.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Netflix, the media-streaming darling of a different kind, is able to keep its programming expenses locked down as its user base grows. But that’s not so for Spotify, thanks to the agreements it struck with the “big three”—Sony, Universal, and Warner—as well as Merlin, a licensing agency for independent labels. Together, the group accounted for over 85% of the music streamed on Spotify last year.

Sure, Spotify could negotiate its rates down when the time comes. It could also explore new revenue sources. (In CFO Barry McCarthy’s sights: the more than $18 billion radio advertising market. “There is an enormous payoff for whoever wins,” he said on a March earnings call.) But what if it took a cue from Netflix and began producing original content? Would Spotify finally realize its profits, or would it spark a devastating record-label revolt?

Erik “Rook” Ortiz, half of the Grammy award–winning production duo J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, says the allure of artists’ back catalogs makes it unlikely that Spotify could cut out its suppliers. To him, the platform would become irrelevant without the inclusion of enduring artists like the Beatles, Prince, or Madonna. “It becomes a niche thing,” he says, no different than, say, Bandcamp.

It’s also unlikely that the music labels would want to lose access to Spotify’s 170 million monthly active users. Still, they could easily redirect their content to competing platforms like Apple Music. “What’s stopping Apple from giving Spotify subscribers a year for free?” asks Eric Schiffer, CEO of the Patriarch Organization, a Los Angeles private equity firm. “Everything Spotify is doing can be usurped by a competitor.”

Others remain optimistic. “I think Spotify is winning the hearts of artists,” says David Park, a professor of entrepreneurship at Syracuse University, noting Taylor Swift’s decision to rejoin the service last year as well as its artist-friendly data insights.

That gives Spotify a little more leverage than it gets credit for. “If you’re looking for true popular music in today’s zeitgeist,” Schiffer says, “Spotify has real, unvarnished info that can really tap you into what’s hot.” All the company has to do is figure out a way to profit from it. 

This article originally appeared in the June 1, 2018 issue of Fortune.

我来点评

相关稿件

• 流媒体音乐服务Spotify快速增长

音乐网站Spotify引爆发烧友怒火

• 在线音乐江湖:Spotify如日中天,Rhapsody卧薪尝胆

• Spotify高管:音乐产业的未来在于访问权

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心
中国 美国 日本 法国
德国 英国 瑞士 韩国
荷兰 加拿大 印度 巴西
意大利 澳大利亚 俄罗斯 西班牙
[浏览更多]
能源 金融 汽车相关
IT行业 商业、零售 房地产、建筑
金属产品 航空、航天 食品相关
电信 保险行业 铁路运输
[浏览更多]

财富专栏