Apple Music subscriber base grew 36% in 2019, second only to Spotify

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Music streaming subscriptions were up 32% globally last year, with Apple Music maintaining a comfortable second place position behind Spotify, according to newly published estimates.

Though Apple Music trailed behind Spotify in global market share, the service's subscription base grew 36% in 2019.
Though Apple Music trailed behind Spotify in global market share, the service's subscription base grew 36% in 2019.


Apple Music, as part of the company's broader services push, has been steadily gaining ground in the streaming industry. But while the service's subscriber base has blossomed since its launch in 2015, Spotify remains the global market leader.

New data published on Friday backs that up. According to research from Counterpoint Research, Apple Music trailed behind Spotify in total market share throughout the 2019 calendar year. However, the research firm adds that Apple's total subscription base actually grew 36% year-over-year, echoing the broader increase across the industry.

Apple has been making improvements to its service, including "the introduction of night mode, curated playlists to target a group, etc," research analyst Abhilash Kumar said.

Spotify grabbed 31% of the total revenue and 35% of total paid subscribers globally. Apple Music was in second place with 24% of total streaming revenues and a 19% share of the total paid subscriptions.

In third place was Amazon Music, which has been slowly increasing its market share. It had 15% of the market, up from 10% in 2018. In January, Amazon Music announced that its streaming service had 55 million customers worldwide.

While Apple hasn't released exact figures for its paid subscribers in 2019, Apple Services Chief Eddy Cue said in June of that year that the service had passed 60 million subscribers. That was the last official word from Apple, though it's likely that the number of subscribers has grown significantly since then.

As of October 2019, Spotify announced that it had 248 million listeners globally, though that includes the service's ad-supported free tier. Apple Music, by comparison, doesn't offer a free tier.

Counterpoint believes that global music subscriptions will grow more than 25% in 2020, with numbers exceeding 450 million paid subscribers by the end of the year.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,378member
    Apple Music appears to be growing at a faster rate than Spotify, and also manages to a) pay artists and b) turn a profit -- two things Spotify cannot really claim to have done (though it spends a lot of time in court trying not to pay artists).

    Because of this, I prefer Apple Music -- though I consider the two services to be roughly equal in end-user experience.
    Beatslkruppmdriftmeyerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 13
    chasm said:
    Apple Music appears to be growing at a faster rate than Spotify, and also manages to a) pay artists and b) turn a profit -- two things Spotify cannot really claim to have done (though it spends a lot of time in court trying not to pay artists).

    Because of this, I prefer Apple Music -- though I consider the two services to be roughly equal in end-user experience.
    An edit is needed in your quote.  All streaming services pay content owners; including Spotify.  You may be implying that Apple pays more, but that ain't what you said.  Plus, streaming services primarily pay labels and labels pay artists.  So artists may not actually be getting paid more.  To be fair, that's a bit nitpicky. I knew what you meant, so let's just say Apple does pay more.  Turn a profit though? A l'il bit of wishful thinking on your part wouldn't you say?  Apple has certainly never said they turned a profit on AM.  They've never even implied it.   Not sure where you got the idea.   

    On topic:  Streaming music is growing.  Looks like all the major players grew.   Seems more and more of the public is finding perpetual services an acceptable proposition.
    Fatmanctt_zhchemengin1
  • Reply 3 of 13
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,378member
    An edit is needed in your quote.  All streaming services pay content owners; including Spotify.  You may be implying that Apple pays more, but that ain't what you said.  Plus, streaming services primarily pay labels and labels pay artists.  So artists may not actually be getting paid more.  To be fair, that's a bit nitpicky. I knew what you meant, so let's just say Apple does pay more.  Turn a profit though?
    Fair enough, I can no longer edit my original post, but you're correct: Spotify does pay most artists something (though they do spend time in court defending why they're not paying some of them), and Apple Music doesn't have that problem and pays more. This alone is enough to prefer Apple Music, but I apologise for going a bit hyperbolic about Spotify's stinginess. The part about them not making any money at it is both weird and true, though.

    I base my claim of AM turning a profit on the facts that a) Services generally reports double-digit growth, and AM is part of that and b) the rate of growth in AM suggests that it is profitable (though unlikely to be the most profitable part of Services, of course).

    Even assuming AM has added zero users since they passed the 60M paid users mark, at an average of $5/month per user (trying to average out both individual and family subscriptions, conservatively), that's $10M per day. I don't know it for a fact, but I'm pretty sure there's room for profit in there even after paying the copyright holders and infrastructure costs. And even if the service hasn't paid back its initial development and running costs yet somehow, it will rather quickly if it continues to grow -- since costs should now be stable yet income is growing.
    mdriftmeyerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    digitoldigitol Posts: 276member
    Apple Music is a horrendous mess. Apple should buy Spotify. Actually streaming services as a whole, suck... music/movies expiring and "going away" is a horrible business model and a disservice to us all. Sad. Another mess and disservice to us all is the RIAA, they need to sunset. 
    edited April 2020 lkruppwg45678
  • Reply 5 of 13
    chasm said:
    An edit is needed in your quote.  All streaming services pay content owners; including Spotify.  You may be implying that Apple pays more, but that ain't what you said.  Plus, streaming services primarily pay labels and labels pay artists.  So artists may not actually be getting paid more.  To be fair, that's a bit nitpicky. I knew what you meant, so let's just say Apple does pay more.  Turn a profit though?
    I base my claim of AM turning a profit on the facts that a) Services generally reports double-digit growth, and AM is part of that and b) the rate of growth in AM suggests that it is profitable (though unlikely to be the most profitable part of Services, of course).

    You really can't do what you're doing and come away with an assumption of profit.  The double digit reported growth for the Services category is revenue growth, not profit.  Apple music being a part of Services does contribute to the category's but that's all you can draw from that.  You can't make any assumptions about the profit of AM based on the overall success of the category. The App Store could run at a massive profit. So could Apple Care or any of the others.  AM could hypothetically run at a negative profit and the Services category could still have double digit growth in revenue.  

    The rate of growth of AM doesn't suggest profitability.  It suggests growth.  Nothing more.    Cook himself said AM doesn't have to be profitable to achieve it's goals.  The same goes for Amazon and Google.  All three of them can subsidize music as a loss leader.  Are they doing that?  IDK.  Just like I don't know if any of them run their music services at a profit.  There's nothing out there that supports an assumption either way.  Math certainly doesn't.


    ctt_zhgatorguychemengin1superkloton
  • Reply 6 of 13
    I gave Apple Music a try three times and always ended up running back to Spotify. Apple Music recommendations and discovery tools are horrendous, serving me the exact opposite of what I like (borderline offensive, rap crap and such), whereas Spotify gets it so right, a good balance of expected and surprising. I have used both in parallel for a while, feeding Apple Music both my iTunes library and Spotify playlists for months in order for it to get my taste. No use, it kept being awful. I remember when the service just started, I took the complementary trial and it was quite good at suggestions, but I already had Spotify with a family plan so I didn’t feel like paying for both. Then I thought how a music service deeply integrated with my many Apple products would be nice and gave it a try, but alas, it doesn’t work. Btw., I just gave up on Apple TV+ as well, I found the original content so bland and sanitized, plus mostly boring. I think I’ll just stick with Apple hardware and pro software (Final Cut Pro, Logic) I use to create stuff, for consumption they fail to deliver.
    ZepLepplinspice-boy
  • Reply 7 of 13
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,268member
    Since it’s patently clear that Spotify aren’t a victim to anticompetitive behaviour.
    Perhaps now is the time for all those smaller companies to petition that Spotify is abusing their market dominance in music. 
    Beatssuperklotonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    Do these “global numbers” include China? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 13
    apricot88 said:
    Do these “global numbers” include China? 
    Yes.  These global numbers include China.  AI linked the source article but didn't use the source article image.  Tencent leads in China.


    gatorguy
  • Reply 10 of 13
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    apricot88 said:
    Do these “global numbers” include China? 
    Yes.  These global numbers include China.  AI linked the source article but didn't use the source article image.  Tencent leads in China.



    I wish Jimmy Iovine and Dre stayed at Apple. They were doing a great job. I feel Apple would be #1 by now.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    wg45678wg45678 Posts: 47member
    Need to see better playlists from Apple, more like Spotify/Pandora or even Amazon HD. And Apple needs HD music. Now that my quality sound system is out of storage, it’s a pretty obvious difference on that system between CD/Tidal/Amazon HD and everyone else including Apple.  Negligible if listening in car or on the computer music system I was using—although a service such as Boom3D does help make jump the difference on music it can enhance (which does not include Apple Music). 
  • Reply 12 of 13
    digitol said:
    Apple Music is a horrendous mess. Apple should buy Spotify. Actually streaming services as a whole, suck... music/movies expiring and "going away" is a horrible business model and a disservice to us all. Sad. Another mess and disservice to us all is the RIAA, they need to sunset. 

    I'm curious as to why you would say it is a horrendous mess.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 13
    rattlhedrattlhed Posts: 155member
    Apple music does a 'good' job of getting it right.  The incorporation into my music library is indispensable.  Add an album in iTunes as it's added to my music library and instantly available on all my Apple devices.  Since I run with just my Apple Watch all the time, having my entire library on my watch is a feature I can never give up.
    But I agree with others on here, the playlists and recommends are pretty poor.  I've never used Spotify or Amazon music so I can't compare to them.  But as a heavy metal fan, if the band is not mainstream then chances are Apple Music isn't going to recommend it.  I'm sure metal is a very small % of their user base, so they are not going to spend as much time curating quality playlists like they will for pop and rap, but I do feel like a forgotten minority on their product.  
    But as someone who is very passionate about music I have my sources for finding music that fits my tastes. Bandcamp is an excellent service that lets me follow users with like minded taste and I get notified when they purchase music. I've discovered countless bands through their recommendations.  Also, whenever I decide to buy an album that I love, I'll do it on Bandcamp since their downloads are DRM free.  Plus there's music on there (especially in the underground metal scene) that is not available in Apple Music. Overall for $17 a month (family plan) Apple Music can't be beat and I love the service.
    watto_cobra
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