Report Claims There Are 358 Million Music Service Subscribers

Posted on April 4, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Google Play Music, Music + Videos, Spotify, YouTube Music with 16 Comments

A new report claims that online music streaming grew 32 percent in 2019 to 358 million subscribers. Spotify is the market leader, with 35 percent share, followed by Apple Music (19 percent) and Amazon Music (15 percent).

“Paid subscriptions grew 32 percent [year-over-year] compared to 23 percent [year-over-year] growth of total [monthly average users],” Counterpoint analyst Abhilash Kumar said in a curiously acronym-laden way. “This suggests people are ready to pay for music streaming for a hassle-free experience.”

Counterpoint doesn’t break down how many of those 358 million subscribers are paying customers and how many use ad-supported services instead. But the market leader, Spotify, typically provides that data for its own service, and all Apple Music subscribers pay for that service. (Most recently, Spotify said that it had 271 million active users overall; 124 million of them are paid subscribers.)

The analyst firm does, however, note that subscriber growth wasn’t completely user-driven: These services often register free users via advertising campaigns and then try to convert them to paying customers using “attractive offers.” The bastards!

“Spotify maintained its top spot with the help of promotional activities like free Spotify Premium for three months, price cuts, customized campaigns like Spotify, and a focus on exclusive content,” Kumar said. “Apple Music is making improvements in its app like the introduction of night mode, curated playlists to target a group, [and so on]. Similarly, Amazon Music has been trying lossless music and is creating its own niche where it competes with Tidal.”

Counterpoint doesn’t expect the COVID-19 outbreak to negatively impact music service growth. In fact, it may benefit them, given how many people are staying home now and are looking for entertainment. Regardless, it expects 25 percent growth YOY in 2020, with total subscribers hitting 450 million by the end of the year.

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