Spotify launched its music streaming service in South Africa

As the 12-year-old music streaming company Spotify prepares to go public on April 3, people are wondering what made it so special.

Mr Ek said: "Since Spotify isn't selling any stock in the listing, we're really entirely focused on the long-term performance of the business".

Taking 41% of the share of sales, paid streaming music services exceeded CD sales (37%) and is now the most popular music format in Belgium.

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Spotify's current valuation is now above $20bn, according to some recent private share trades between investors in the company.

The Swedish company, which was established in 2008 and now operating in more than 60 countries, is the largest music streaming company in the world and is competing with Apple, Amazon.com and Google services in the field.

But net financing costs of €855m ($1.05bn, £755m) pushed up operating losses to €378m ($465m, £334m) from €349m ($429m, £308m).

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Amid his familiar wide-eyed predictions about the company's future, Ek confirmed that the service now has 71 million global subscribers, along with 3,500 employees and more than 35 million tracks - "but we're just getting started". That will keep it ahead of Apple, the company believes.

Apple, Spotify, Google and other services charge around $9.99 a month for music subscriptions.

Ek portrayed Spotify as an underdog not tied to a major technology company, describing a strategy to be a ubiquitous music service available across phones, computers, smart speakers and auto entertainment systems. Based on private transactions, it is valued at roughly $19-billion, according to Reuters calculations.

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The company said: "Operating losses have grown with revenue, but the trend towards profitability is clear when you look at operating losses as a percentage of revenue". An opinion shared by the federal Minister for the Digital and Telecommunications Programme, Alexander De Croo, who says, "The significance of streamed music will only increase, as much for artists as for the music industry". Spotify is still the undisputable lead in this market as well. "Now it remains to be seen whether we will win, but that's the game we are playing", he said.


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