From RTE

Spotify today swung to a quarterly profit aided by price hikes in its streaming services and growth in subscribers in all regions, and forecast that its number of monthly listeners would reach 601 million in this quarter.

The company posted a third-quarter operating income of €32m, its first quarterly profit since 2021, helped by a higher gross margin and lower marketing and personnel costs.

“We believe moving forward, we should see pretty consistent growth in our operating income,” its Chief Financial Officer Paul Vogel said.

It forecast operating income of €37m in the current quarter.

After spending more than €1 billion in building up its podcast business, Spotify has been keeping a tight lid on costs, laying off 6% of its employees earlier this year and in July raising prices for its premium plans.

“We are still focusing on efficiencies, but efficiencies for us doesn’t mean just cost cutting, it means getting more out of each dollar,” CEO Daniel Ek told Reuters.

Spotify’s gross margin rose to 26.4% in the three months from July to September, up 166 basis points from a year earlier.

“We do expect to continue to see margin expansion into next year,” Vogel said in an interview.

The company’s number of monthly active users rose 26% to 574 million in the third quarter, beating its own guidance and analysts’ forecast of 565.7 million.

Premium subscribers, who account for most of the company’s revenue, rose 16% to 226 million, topping estimates of 223.7 million, according to IBES data from LSEG.

Revenue rose 11% to €3.36 billion, just beating estimates of €3.33 billion.

Spotify’s monthly user forecast for the fourth quarter sets the company firmly on target to reach 1 billion users and $100 billion in revenue annually by 2030. Analysts had expected a forecast of 591.2 million listeners.

It also expects premium subscribers to reach 235 million in the last three months of the year and revenue to reach €3.7 billion.

Analysts were expecting a forecast of 232.4 million premium subscribers and revenue of €3.69 billion.