[Editor Charlie sez, what data does Tencent scrape for listeners to the Tibetan Freedom Concert...oh, right, that’s not available.]
Chinese internet giant Tencent has reportedly been surveilling content posted by foreign users on its wildly popular messaging service WeChat in order to help it refine censorship on its platform at home.
Surveillance and censorship of social media and messaging platforms in China is commonplace. Companies that run such services often remove or block content that is likely to offend Beijing.
But Citizen Lab, a research center that is part of the University of Toronto, said in a report published Thursday, that “documents and images shared among non-China-registered accounts are subject to content surveillance and are used to build up the database WeChat uses to censor China-registered accounts.”
In case you missed it, the creator’s loss is Spotify’s gain. No, today is different than usual, because this time Spotify’s gain is not just tied to the misery of artists and songwriters, it’s actually tied to the whole world. According to TechCrunch:
The coronavirus may be decimating some corners of the economy, but the impact on the digital music, as evidenced by the world’s biggest music streaming company, appears to be minimal. Today Spotify reported its earnings for Q1 with revenues of €1.848 billion ($2 billion at today’s rates) and an inching into a positive net income of $1 million. Monthly active users (not total subscribers) now stand at 286 million, with paid (premium) users at 130 million and ad-supported monthly active users at 163 million. Ad-supported users are growing at a slightly higher rate at the moment, at 32% versus 31%, Spotify said.
So far today, SPOT is up $16 a share, which means Daniel Ek made roughly $656,000,000 today alone. And that doesn’t count the warrants.
So the bubbly is flowing at World Trade Center or wherever the Spotify elites are hiding out.
Testament frontman Chuck Billy recently shared some depressing thoughts on Spotify and music streaming in general.
The band joined music streaming platforms despite believing that artist royalty payments are too low. During an interview on Underground Australia, Billy was asked to share his thoughts on the digital age. The answer was mostly a tale of gradually giving in after years of sinking monetization on digital platforms.
UPDATE: This post originally appeared on 9/24 in MusicTech.Solutions before reading that on 9/23 Wells Fargo initiated coverage of Spotify at “Underperform” with a $115 price target. (The stock touched $115 during the trading day on 9/24). As of this writing, the consensus price target is $159 according to NASDAQ’s Marketbeat. And of course, streaming’s massive consumption of electricity is becoming an issue faster than you can say “data center.”
Analyst Mark Hake has developed three different scenarios for where Spotify’s stock price will be in 2021: $125.68, $61.42 and $38.39. He assigns a $114.89 price based on a probability analysis. About where it is at the close today, in other words. His post in Seeking Alpha (“Spotify Has A Valuation Problem”) is a must read if you’re interested in financial analysis. (I predicted about a year ago the stock would retrace to the $120 to $130 range before dropping below $100 and that it would happen sooner than later.)
In trading on Friday, shares of Spotify Technology SA (Symbol: SPOT) entered into oversold territory, hitting an RSI reading of 26.8, after changing hands as low as $120.63 per share. By comparison, the current RSI reading of the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) is 56.4. A bullish investor could look at SPOT’s 26.8 RSI reading today as a sign that the recent heavy selling is in the process of exhausting itself, and begin to look for entry point opportunities on the buy side.
This chart is from today’s trading and it reveals a couple interesting patterns–they may mean nothing, but then again they might. It’s not so much that Spotify is now trading about $20 below its self-assigned private company valuation of $135. That’s not a comfortable feeling as it says that investors would have been $20 a share better off if the company had never had its controversial direct public offering (or “DPO”) and just stayed private.
What’s interesting about this chart is not so much the price but rather the volume. Spotify is a very thinly traded stock that typically has relatively low volume. When you see larger volume around the opening and the close of trading it may indicate certain motivations of sellers. Particularly if there are holders of large blocks of shares that want to slip out of their position when nobody is (a) noticing or (b) can do much about it.
Because of the nature and “rules” of the DPO, Spotify doesn’t have the typical underwriting syndicate that helps to keep the price somewhat stable to allow the stock to establish a trading range with support levels. Instead of the underwriters selling to the public, Spotify insiders are selling their shares to the public, which then of course can be resold. In an underwritten public offering, insider shares are usually subject to a “lock up” period where insiders cannot sell their shares for a period of time, say 90 to 180 days after the first public offering.
Spotify had no lock up on insiders. So who has an incentive to sell their shares relatively quickly?
It’s hard to know who is doing the selling unless you’re a transfer agent with access to the master shareholder list, and they probably wouldn’t disclose that information for anyone under certain thresholds. But it is odd and it’s been similar patterns for a week or so.