Report Claims There Are 358 Million Music Service Subscribers

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

16 responses to “Report Claims There Are 358 Million Music Service Subscribers”

  1. madthinus

    I see reports like these and always wonder: How global is this data? Does it include China and India?

  2. red77star

    Why would you waste money on this is beyond me.

  3. HirishoSenju

    Where exactly is Google Play Music? With that service you get 2 for the price 1, and it's not specifically mentioned here. I would think that GPM would be somewhat popular in terms that not only can you play any music you want, but you also get ad-free Youtube. LOL.....once you go ad-free Youtube, it's very very very hard to go back from it.

  4. m_p_w_84

    I switched from Spotify to YouTube music, I’m just a casual music listener and enjoy the ad free YouTube.

    i do wonder why people subscribe to Apple Music / same music / more platform limitations? I don’t see the benefit

    • chrisx01

      In reply to m_p_w_84:

      Of course there are better music streaming options when you are using an Android phone and a windows PC. But as a „hardcore“ Apple User, Apple Music got me with the great app for the Apple TV, the ability to upload songs from my own library at no extra cost, and (the most important for me) the great costumization options in the Mac App. It lets me edit the metadata of the songs as they were my own, apply different Equalizers for every single song, view how often I listen to my songs, etc. Additionally, „Smart Playlists“ are a great feature, that automatically create playlists of songs after certain rules that the user can define. So, I couldn’t think of switching back from Apple Music to Spotify or any other service.

  5. Pierre Masse

    Poor Google. They f***ed up pretty good, again.

  6. j5

    I cancelled our Spotify family plan when once the stay at home orders came in. My thinking was since we're all at home with our laptops and phones we can use YouTube to pick individuals songs that we want to listen to or put on repeat. And save $14 a month which could come in handy if I lose my job. Being out and about at school and work it's not possible to have YouTube playing and have that screen up to pick and choose music you want to listen to.

  7. Stooks

    I though Spotify was running out of cash? There were many articles about how it was burning through cash.

  8. miamimauler

    So, if a little over under half of Spotify's users are paid subscribers that puts their paid subscriptions at about 16% opposed to Apple Music with 19% making Apple Music the most popular paid subscription music streaming service.

    I'm surprised by that. I just assumed Spotify had that covered.

    Also, would those YouTube Music numbers include Google Play Music users?

    • jgraebner

      In reply to miamimauler:

      Look at the header of the graph. It specifically says "paid subscribers". The free tiers aren't included in the market shares listed. 35% of the 358m total that was given is 125.3m, which lines up pretty closely to the 124m paid subscribers number that Spotify provided.

      Basically, it looks like Apple Music has a little over half the number of paid subscribers that Spotify does. The one that I find surprising is how high Amazon's market share is. They aren't that far behind Apple at this point.

    • Paul Thurrott

      They're all paid, in a way: The "free" accounts are ad-supported. They're a lot less lucrative, of course. Not sure on YT/GPM. I assume so.
    • oasis

      In reply to miamimauler:

      If you run the numbers Apple has 68 Million and Spotify reported 124 Million paid subscribers.