Boku, an independent carrier billing company, announced Wednesday (Nov. 3) the expansion of carrier billing for Spotify music users in Switzerland.
According to a blog post, the expanded carrier billing is via Swisscom. With the partnership, Boku said it will help 6.5 million Swisscom subscribers access carrier billing as a payment option for Spotify Premium. That means they can create recurring payments quickly and easily with only their mobile number.
In addition to Spotify, Boku said its platform is already used by digital marketplaces, including Google Play Store, Sony PlayStation Store, Microsoft Windows Store and Facebook App Center. Boku isn’t the only one striking deals with Spotify. In October, Fortumo, the international mobile payment provider, announced it reached a partnership with Spotify. In a press release, Fortumo said it introduced a carrier billing program specifically for Spotify users in Indonesia and Philippines.
The expansion with Spotify comes at a time when Spotify is reportedly gearing up to launch an initial public offering in the second half of next year. By metrics, the firm is a tremendous success. By the numbers, it is the most successful music streaming service in the world with the most paid subscribers. Many have tried (Tidal, for example), but no startup has succeeded as well as Spotify. Its real competition comes from giants, such as Apple and Amazon.
But there’s just one problem. Spotify, after a decade in business, is still not making any money. “This is just a tough sector, and that is skepticism Spotify will have to overcome,” said Mark Mahaney, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, in a recent report covered by PYMNTS. Spotify has 30 million paying customers and reported sales of $2.2 billion. But it also has some very expensive contracts to pay out to the music industry — totaling $1.8 billion last year alone, according to public filings. Record labels — and in particular, the big three: Universal, Sony and Warner — take home about half of Spotify’s sales.