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Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek (Photo by Michael Loccisano / Getty Images for Spotify)

Spotify has confidentially filed for an initial public offering according to an Axios report citing several anonymous sources. The streaming giant is a controversial player in the music industry, as evidenced by a $1.6 billion lawsuit filed by Wixen Music Publishing hours before news of the IPO broke.

Spotify will be a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange by the end of the first quarter of this year, sources tell CNBC. It’s not clear how or if the Wixen lawsuit will impact the company’s IPO plans.

Wixen, the licensee of songs by Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, and others, claims Spotify illegally uses thousands of songs without properly compensating the publisher. Spotify has been at odds with music publishers for years, prioritizing contracts with labels.

Spotify’s value has grown about 20 percent over the past few months, according to Business Insider. It is estimated to be at least $19 billion. The service is dominant in the crowded music streaming space, which also includes Amazon, Apple, and Seattle-based Napster. 

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