Qobuz contemplates float after successful Spotify IPO

Denis Thébaud

One week on from Spotify’s hotly-anticipated direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange, another music streaming service is considering going public.

French-owned Qobuz does not quite have Spotify’s scale or influence, although it has carved itself out a niche amongst fans of classical music, jazz and hi-res audio. But such is the optimism around digital music right now that president Denis Thébaud says it will now “consider” its own IPO “in the next 18-24 months”.

“We can only applaud Spotify for the launch into the largest financial centre in the world, the NYSE,” Thébaud said. “This success is great news for the market, and for the music and for all its fans. It shows that the market is becoming more mature: it is going to be segmented, which will widen the scope for specialised players with a strong personality - like Qobuz. The music market has always developed by diversifying and the listing of the best online platforms is a sign of good health.”

In the meantime, Qobuz has launched its third round of fundraising, handled by KPMG and due to close at the end of June.

Qobuz has always been so optimistic about its future. Thébaud bought Qobuz after it went into receivership in 2015 and has since targeted growth in the UK. In 2016, he told Music Week: “Qobuz is in a niche market, but it’s a growing niche. We believe that, as in every other industry, more and more people want quality. In cars, clothing, food, perfumes – in every area you see a demand for more quality, and it’s the same in music.”

Another French-owned streaming service, Deezer, backed out of its planned IPO back in 2015.

Meanwhile, at time of writing, Spotify’s shares were trading around the $150 mark, up on Friday’s closing price of $147.92, although still notably down on its first day high of $169.00.

Trade volumes have been relatively light since that first day, although Sony Music recently revealed it sold off 17.2% of its 5.7% stake in the company. It’s not yet known what Universal and Warner have done with their stakes, with the timing of any divestment likely to impact on the money received by rights-holders.

For full analysis of and reaction to Spotify's first week as a public company, don't miss the new issue of Music Week. To subscribe and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.

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