Shares of streaming-music services veteran Spotify Technology (NYSE:SPOT) fell 15.5% in September, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The slide started with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) introducing several media streaming services, including a revamped version of Apple Music. Still, most of the damage came later when a respected analyst firm posted a negative report on the stock.
Apple Music has been around since 2015 and already has 60 million free and paid subscribers, compared with Spotify's 232 million total users. The redesigned Apple Music unveiled last month comes with a new browser-based music player that bears more than a passing resemblance to Spotify's browser platform. Earlier versions have only been available via apps on a variety of devices.
Wells Fargo analyst Steven Cahall started coverage of Spotify in the second half of September with a $115 price target and an underperform rating. Cahall's analysis rested on rising competitive pressure that limits Spotify's pricing power.
Even Cahall admits that Spotify should continue to grow rapidly for years to come, exploiting a very large global market that remains mostly untapped. Revenue has been rising at an average annual clip of 48% over the last five years, and free cash flows this year are trending 54% above last year's total.
As for rivals like Apple Music blocking Spotify's ability to raise subscription prices, I suppose time will tell. Just note that other streaming media specialists have proved that they can boost their monthly fees without starting a huge subscriber exodus, and Spotify remains the name to beat in music streaming. And while Apple Music's addition of a web-based streaming interface might help it in some niche markets, it's hardly a game-changer.
All told, Spotify shares have fallen 30% over the last 52 weeks and are starting to look downright tempting at these discounted prices.