Amazon Music doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it is most likely the third-largest digital music service by listeners.
That’s according to a new report from eMarketer, which expects Amazon Music to be the fastest-growing music subscription service this year, and through 2021.
“Amazon Music will cross 35 million monthly listeners in the US this year,” the report notes. “At a growth rate of 17.7 percent year over year, we expect it will grow faster than any other digital audio service in our forecast.”
The firm says that Amazon Music boasted over 30 million listeners by the end of 2018. By comparison, Spotify hit 87 million subscribers in late 2018 and Apple Music has over 50 million subscribers.
That said, the businesses are all quite different: Spotify offers paid and ad-supported subscriptions, Apple Music is paid-only, and Amazon Music is a free perk for those who subscribe to Amazon Prime. It has a limited library of just 2 million songs, compared to over 50 million for the other services.
(Amazon also offers a paid subscription service called Amazon Prime Unlimited that maps more closely to Spotify and Apple Music and offers access to over 50 million songs. But it’s not clear if eMarketer’s numbers include that as well.)
Put simply, Amazon Music’s usage can be tied directly to the success and popularity of Amazon Prime, which hit 100 million subscribers one year ago and is expected to reach half of U.S. households sometime this year. As I noted in Amazon’s Prime Advantage (Premium), this service is the online retailer’s number one advantage over other personal technology platform providers like Apple, Google, and Microsoft: It can combine digital and physical goods and services into a cohesive, ever-expanding offering.