Spotify now has 158 million subscribers as war with Apple intensifies

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 3
During Q1, Spotify's paid subscriber total grew to 158 million, up 21% from the same period a year ago, as the streaming giant's battle with Apple Music and Apple Podcasts heats up.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek


While Spotify welcomes the subscriber growth, it cautioned about uncertain expansion moving forward. Some of its newest growth markets -- most notably India -- are experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases, casting an uncertain light on future returns.

Average revenue per user dropped 7% year-over-year to 4.12 euro, or around $4.98. The company attributes the decrease to lower prices in new markets and discounted plans designed to attract new subscribers.

Spotify's total subscription revenue rose 14% to 1.93 billion euro, the equivalent of $2.33 billion. Global consumption hours also grew year-over-over. Per-user consumption grew in developed regions. Meanwhile, developing regions "showed signs of improvement but remained below pre-COVID levels."

Although Apple Music is the second most popular music streaming service after Spotify, the iPhone maker hasn't released subscriber totals since 2019 when it passed 60 million paid users. Based on the previous growth rate, Apple Music likely passed 70 million subscribers months ago, but the company has kept those numbers to itself.

Podcasting

Apple's and Spotify's platform wars now include paid podcasts
Apple's and Spotify's platform wars now include paid podcasts


Spotify sees advertising as a key growth area, particularly in podcasts. It now has 2.6 million available podcasts, an 18% increase over the previous quarter. Podcast consumption also grew, along with overall content consumption.

Earlier this month, Apple boosted its podcasting efforts with the Apple Podcasters Program. The initiative allows podcast creators to charge listeners for exclusive content like ad-free listening, exclusive content, and early or exclusive access to new series.

"With Apple making its move into subscription, there is this platform war emerging," Josh Lindgren, head of Creative Artists Agency's podcast department, told The Wall Street Journal.

Spotify countered with a paid subscription platform using its podcast creation tool Anchor. The move allows creators to post links to Anchor payments outside of the Spotify iOS app.

This method appears to exploit an App Store loophole, bypassing Apple's 30% cut of App Store transactions without breaking any rules. It remains to be seen whether Apple will counter or attempt to block Spotify's loophole workaround.

Bundles

Perhaps to help offset uncertain growth in emerging markets, Spotify has continued to raise its family plan prices. After increasing family bundle costs across several markets in late 2020, the streaming service announced a price increase in the U.S. from $14.99 to $15.99 starting this week.

Apple Music family bundles still cost $14.99.

Apple's music service is also part of Apple One bundles. Individual Apple Music plans are included in the $14.99 Apple One bundle. Apple Music family plans are also part of the company's $19.95 and $29.95 Apple One plans, which add various other services.

Hi-Fi on the horizon

Spotify HiFi brings a lossless streaming tier to the platform
Spotify HiFi brings a lossless streaming tier to the platform "later this year"


Spotify has also announced plans to offer a Spotify HiFi streaming plan sometime later in 2021. The new tier will include lossless streaming, bringing higher-bitrate, CD-quality tracks to the most popular streaming platform.

Tidal, Deezer, and Amazon Music already offer lossless streaming options.

Spotify hasn't yet announced pricing or committed to a specific release date -- beyond "later this year" -- for its Hi-Fi subscription plan.

Although premium audio has a vocal and enthusiastic audience, it isn't clear whether the upcoming service will attract new users or otherwise boost Spotify's fortunes in any notable way. A 2016 study showed that most users can tell the difference between compressed and lossless audio, but they sometimes need "training" to know how to discern between the two.

HiFi audio typically requires expensive equipment for users to notice much of a difference. AirPods won't likely reveal much of a difference for most users, but it may be more evident with the premium AirPods Max.

Currently, Spotify streams in the Ogg Vorbis format at 320kbps. Apple Music encodes tracks in AAC at 256kbps.

Apple hasn't announced any plans to bring a similar CD-quality option to Apple Music.





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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    Those numbers sound awfully good for a company that is arguing in court that they're the victims of anti-competitive tactics. 
    jahbladedewmesully54watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 8
    GabyGaby Posts: 175member
    Hmmm…. Spotify has 158,000,000 premium subscribers which represents annual growth of 21%. And yet, Apple’s monopoly power over the segment is crushing Spotify. Indeed Apple is harming them so much that they have been shedding tears and complaining to every national competition authority they can think of in the hope of swift rescue….

    They should be truly embarrassed by such obvious contradiction and lies. 

    Meanwhile Apple’s own subscriber numbers are increasing at a much more modest rate as the gap between the two seemingly widens. 

    Companies such as Spotify and Tile are inhabiting an alternate reality. 

    edited April 28 jahbladedewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 8
    looplessloopless Posts: 203member
    And they are not inflating their figures are they? The growth seems unlikely given how popular iPhones are and I would imagine unless you really want to use Spotify you would use Apple Music. For 99% of people they are equivalent services and using Apple Music is frictionless.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 8
    AppleishAppleish Posts: 352member
    If I had still been a customer after they gave anti-vaxxer Joe Rogan 100 million bucks, I would have cancelled again.
    Wgkruegerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 8
    croprcropr Posts: 1,046member
    loopless said:
    And they are not inflating their figures are they? The growth seems unlikely given how popular iPhones are and I would imagine unless you really want to use Spotify you would use Apple Music. For 99% of people they are equivalent services and using Apple Music is frictionless.
    Isn't it a little arrogant to assume that a "normal" personal has to choose Apple Music iso Spotify.  Why the heck should I prefer Apple Music above Spotify?    I don't see any technical or commercial advantage.  On the contrary.  In my family we have a multitude of devices (Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android). The Apple Music app for Android is no match for the Spotify app and a Linux version is simply not existing. I would not associate Apple Music with a frictionless experience.
    muthuk_vanalingamCloudTalkinapplguy
  • Reply 6 of 8
    GabyGaby Posts: 175member
    cropr said:
    loopless said:
    And they are not inflating their figures are they? The growth seems unlikely given how popular iPhones are and I would imagine unless you really want to use Spotify you would use Apple Music. For 99% of people they are equivalent services and using Apple Music is frictionless.
    Isn't it a little arrogant to assume that a "normal" personal has to choose Apple Music iso Spotify.  Why the heck should I prefer Apple Music above Spotify?    I don't see any technical or commercial advantage.  On the contrary.  In my family we have a multitude of devices (Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android). The Apple Music app for Android is no match for the Spotify app and a Linux version is simply not existing. I would not associate Apple Music with a frictionless experience.
    Whilst i understand entirely your point, I think that you may have misunderstood the poster’s comment. I think what they were suggesting was that an average iOS user would be more likely to favour Apple Music as it is already installed for one, and is part of the same app  for anyone already using iTunes etc. Moreover when you first open the app you are greeted with an ad and a free 3 month trial. Whereas Spotify needs to be downloaded. A person switching from android may indeed opt for Spotify as it’s highly likely they may have been using it prior to iPhone, but for first time users this is not necessarily the case.
    edited April 28 Bombdoemuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 8
    Good for them! I hope Spotify keeps afloat even if just so that Apple keeps its Music services on its toes.

    But I'd think this quarter report doesn't quite ring the note they are trying to resonate inside the courtroom. Now they just got to figure out how to fault Apple for that too.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 8
    nicholfdnicholfd Posts: 608member
    Are they profitable yet?  

    I didn't think so.
    watto_cobra
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