Spotify has quietly filed to go public, paving the way for what will be one of the biggest ever technology flotations by a European company.
The Swedish music streaming service has quietly registered for a listing in New York, although it is expected to take an unconventional route that will see it go public without selling any new shares.
The "direct listing" means Spotify will enter the markets without the need for a lengthy roadshow process or high banker fees. Although this will make the process something of a low-key affair, the company is due to attract a valuation of more than $15b ($21.13b).
Spotify filed papers with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in late December with a view to going public in the first quarter of 2018, according to US reports.
The company was founded in 2006 and has pioneered legal streaming, which has become the music industry's biggest source of growth despite early scepticism. Last year it renegotiated deals with the three major music labels, a move that was seen as a prelude to going public.
It has weathered a number of controversies over the years. Taylor Swift pulled her music from Spotify late in 2014 over royalties disputes, though later put her songs on the service.
Spotify's plans will also have been disrupted by a $1.6bn lawsuit filed by the publishing company Wixen. It claims that thousand of songs by the likes of Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks and The Doors have featured on the streaming service without a licence, and is demanding compensation.
Spotify did not comment. The company has over 140m users, around 60m of which pay a monthly fee, although its growth has not yet led the company to profitability. In 2016 its losses more than doubled to €539m ($647.5m) despite revenues rising 52 per cent, and critics have questioned whether its current business model will allow it to turn a profit.