Spotify had a £16.66m loss in 2009 – a rumoured US launch is now imperative

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Music blog Musically has jumped on the new accounts of Spotify’s UK Limited company to reveal some interesting figures, to say the least. The accounts also reveal that at the end of 2009, Spotify’s parent company Spotify Technology SA was negotiating further funding.

The most interesting stat, to me at least is that Spotify started 2009 with around one million users and ended with seven million users across Europe, of whom over 250,000 were paid-up subscribers. That is a sevenfold increase.

The latest official Spotify numbers , says the company, is that they had over 10 million registered users (in October this year) and over 500,000 subscribers across Europe (a figure revealed in June).

But assuming the growth rate in the second year was slower, let’s call it a two to threefold increase, then Spotify could well be heading toward 15 million users by the end of the year, and 750,000 to 1 million paying subscribers. Let’s hope for their sake they are.

A company spokes person commented on the 2009 figures: “2009 saw us focus on establishing a new and innovative music service and bringing it to millions of people across Europe. The groundwork laid in our launch year has been crucial to the significant achievements made in 2010. Further strengthening and expansion of the service remains our top priority.”

Since October 2008, it has paid more than €40 million to rightsholders, with €30 million of those payments coming in the first eight months of 2010.

In other words, although Spotify’s startup costs have been hefty, it’s user-base is giving it traction. The jury is out the door on how it can maintain that, but as investor Sean Parker says, once users have built playlists, collected albums and used the mobile app “we’ve got you by the balls.” So it’s just waiting for that grip to tighten, as it were.

Lastly, we hear from reliable sources that Spotify is prepping a launch in the U.S. soon, despite a year’s delay. This could either happen in late December or early in the New Year. Watch this space, I guess.

Here are highlights of the 2009 financial accounts for Spotify Limited, its UK-headquartered arm that is really the guts of the operations:

• The operating loss was £16.4 million for 2009 as a whole
• Net loss after taxation was £16.66 million

• Revenues for 2009 were £11.32 million
• Cost of sales was £18.82 million
• Distribution was £608,711
• Administrative expenses were £8.29 million

Spotify’s revenue by category was:

• £4.51 million from sales of advertisements in 2009, just under 40% of revenue
• £6.81 million from subscriptions, just over 60% of revenue

• At the end of 2009 it had 23 employees
• Staff costs were £1.17 million

It ended 2009 with:

• Just over £2 million in cash plus £12.1 million of assets in trade and other receivables
• £21.47 million of liabilities in the form of trade and other payables.

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