Why Apple Will Never Beat Spotify…

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Source: Strategy Analytics, all data worldwide.

44 Responses

  1. meh

    I mean, my 60+ year old folks have android phones, cause they took whatever free phone was given to them and use messages, the camera and the actual phone.

    it would be more interesting to see which OS makes more money because their client base is willing to spend money on apps and services.

    • Anonymous

      if im going to be bugged and tracked and spied on and all my information taken and crunched and are a monkey in a cage playing some psycho social study game, then i want free, i dont want to pay a damn thing, luckily im over all that so if they do charge im out anyways…

      the android play is a bit frustrating sometimes, where its free with all these pay premiums everywhere, so you download a game and then play it for a minute and then you have to ship them some money, which is a shame, for both the developer and consumer, but it is what it is…

      i deal with the android, i like apple and appreciate their security, but in this day and age, there isnt any anyways, so why pay the premium to be some hipster cool guy??


    • Confused

      Android phones are free?!? I need to go back to the Verizon store, I paid a I spent a lot on my Galaxy S5. They sure ripped me off. Or maybe I could go trade it in for an iPhone and live exclusively in their eco-system.

      • Joe

        Yes, many android capable sets are free on contract. Believe it or not, millions of people do not care to have the latest and greatest smart phone. These people make up a portion (possible a sizable one at that) of total Android shipments over the course of a year. These people are less likely to pay a subscription for music.

        Bad graphic is bad.

  2. Arthur

    Maybe the author of this incredibly useless article should take a look at piracy rate beetween iOs and android’s user.

    • Anonymous

      That would be even more useless than this article.

      Piracy of apps is irrelevant when your apps don’t cost anything in the first place.

  3. Bill Rosenblatt

    That’s right. You need to look at what those phones are, what networks they run on, and who actually uses them for things like music. This in and of itself tells you nothing. This is a pure hardware/device analytics firm. Try looking at Infinite Dial or NPD for better numbers.

  4. FarePlay

    Define “beat” (not Beats) Paul. Plus never is a very long time. Have you ever considered that Spotify may run out of investment and IPO money at some point?

    Talk about a Zero Sum game.

    • Paul Resnikoff


      If Spotify implodes into a searing melted ball of investor cash, then yes, iTunes wins by default. You can shove that in my face if that time arrives.

      • FarePlay

        Paul, I don’t want to shove anything into your face. I think you and many indie artists would sigh in relief if the entire interactive music streaming category implodes. And before all you streaming is the future messiahs pontificate, the reality is if the labels hadn’t blinked and drunk the cool aide we wouldn’t be having this debate.

        I believe Apple is wisely standing back trying to understand how the Beats Music model can work and Integration with iTunes is very likely possible as evidenced by recent reports of p2p DRM explorations. Now that Iovine has cleared his small fortune from Beats, perhaps he is interested in saving the music business or not.

        We’ll see.

        • GGG

          Honest question, not just trying to argue against you, but do you really think an illegal streaming site wouldn’t have popped up eventually? I mean, Napster existed, YT was essentially untouched and got away without paying for years, and now they just pay worse than anyone. It’s not really THAT hard to imagine a site with total access to stream music popping up at some point. So it’s entirely possible labels/Spotify beat that to the punch. And before you say I’m just defending Spotify, is the argument against labels re: Napster not that they should have created some sort of digital store themselves? It’s the same concept.

          • FarePlay

            “And before you say I’m just defending Spotify, is the argument against labels re: Napster not that they should have created some sort of digital store themselves? It’s the same concept.’

            Excellent point. The fact that the record labels or an experienced entity working with recording artists were unable to get it together is a key part of the problem. The emerging music streaming companies, with the exception of Beats Music, don’t have experienced music guys operating at a high level. No Sean Parker definitely doesn’t count.

            We have major players entering the industry with limited or no knowledge of the music business and most of them outside the United States. They may be brilliant at understanding digital distribution, but they are inexperienced in the complexities and the nuances of the music business.

          • GGG

            Right, at least the labels are involved, but at the same time, yes they are just another link the chain before artists get paid. So it’s kinda a double edged sword, as is everything these days.

    • Anonymous

      Rumor has it they are raising another $500 million. So that time might be a while.

      In fact by the time they burn through that they may very well be profitable.

      • FarePlay

        Get real. Obviously, Spotify continues to be on shaky ground or they would have pulled the IPO last year. Things are only getting more diffult as the bad news about streaming continues.

        Now, don’t throw those streaming numbers at me, they’re a lose, lose. Throw some positive ROI on me. Can you imagine having a billion dollars in investment capital for a distribution company? A distribution company that is getting product at a fire sale price and no owned inventory.

        • GGG

          They are still on shaky ground but they wouldn’t have tried to go public last year. Not enough users. FB, Twitter, etc all had in the hundreds of millions when they did it. I don’t think they’ll even try until they get close to 100M.

      • Ed Jennings

        My perception is that the 500 million capital injection is for two main purposes. Upgrade the WAN infrastructure to provide high resolution streaming. 320kbs isn’t “competitive” vs. Deezer Elite and TIDAL.

        Secondly they will be taking on the SONY Unlimited customers which are projected to be 64 million more. If they take on 25% of that subscriber base they will need to increase bandwidth and technology systems.

        Spotify continues to grow despite the “Haters”.

  5. Paul Resnikoff

    Actually, there’s more. I’d argue that song downloads — which are predominantly sold by iTunes — would not be declining in the double-digit percentages if iTunes had been licensed to Android phones. Instead, it would probably be down a few percentage points, flat, or even up slightly.

    Why? Because when it boils down to it, the exact delivery format doesn’t matter, as long as you can get the song anywhere. Sure, it would be a tough battle with Spotify and streaming, undoubtedly, but I question whether there would be a tailspin of the type we’re witnessing right now.

    • Anonymous

      if iTunes had been licensed to Android phones. Instead, it would probably be down a few percentage points, flat, or even up slightly.


      How lazy have people become?

      All i have to do is pop open iTunes on my laptop, buy the songs i want, find the containing folder, and copy them over to my android, so the app being only available for the iPhone means nothing, or at least shouldnt even be a factor…

      Why wouldnt people want to put it on their computer so they can transfer it where it needs to be?? I dont get people at all…

      Wow, some of those apple hipster weirdos just make zero sense to me, they just want their little iPhone and then their whole life is only on that little phone, its likely they would all commit suicide or fall into deep depression if you took their phones off their hips for half a day, wow…

      i do like apple stuff though, i just prefer the free openness of other things, because lets be honest for a moment, there isnt any security or privacy anyways no matter who you choose…

  6. Gus

    This article is one of the most useless I’ve seen on this site..

  7. jw

    If you think Apple is trying to compete with Spotify, youre missing the point. Apple is doing what it has to to sell hardware, where the margins are astronomical. Porting iTunes to Android would do more harm than good for them. The health of the recorded music industry is Apple’s concern, only that folks are locked into the Apple ecosystem.

    • Anonymous

      Someday people on this site (and the music industry as a whole) will realize that they are nothing more to Apple than a tool which Apple leverages to make money from far more profitable products/services. The revenue and profit they make from music is pitiful. Hardware/software and potentially Apple pay is where all the money is.

      • GGG

        Yes, I still wonder why everyone took (and continues to take) Steve Jobs’ $9.99/album model as the word of god…

        There’s a reason the average band camp album price is probably at $7-8.

  8. anon

    Seems like the headline might make more sense if it read “Why Apple will never beat Spotify in Music Streaming.”

    I suppose that was implied, but it should be explicit.

    To that I’d say, who cares?

    Apple is the most profitable company on earth right now, irrespective of whether Android is shipping more hardware units. Apple is making the vast majority of the profit on hardware sales.

    Music streaming is just one small piece of Apple’s puzzle. At this point, whether their streaming play wins or not, it’s probably not going to have a huge impact on the overall profitability of the company. Having the streaming service just gives them better leverage against people like Spotify, who are solely in the Software as Service business. It also allows them to create a curated user experience, tailored to the iPhone, so nobody can ever do to them what Google started trying to do with Google Maps.

    If you loved the iPhone and Spotify was no longer available as an iPhone app, would that be enough to make you switch to Android? Maybe for some people. But if Beats has a similar selection of music and works pretty well, many people would probably just switch to that rather than switching platforms for Spotify.

    Although, I will admit that the more ubiquitous Spotify becomes, the more its availability is a consideration for me in hardware decisions. For example, I was really happy to see that Spotify updated its Windows Phone app recently, as I have a low end Nokia as a back up phone that I use as kind of an iPod for Spotify streaming and the new app definitely improves that experience. I wouldn’t switch to X-Box music just because of that phone. But the availability of Spotify on the phone, definitely makes it a more appealing device.

  9. Jeff Robinson

    How about this, the most glaring reason of all-


    Spotify does.

    Started by thugs, it’s being run in thug-like fashion. Boycott this service.

    • Anonymous

      Are you actually standing up for Spotify? Never thought I would see the day.

      • Jeff Robinson

        We just started receiving Youtube ‘sale’ Royalties for the new Music Key Service.

        Our jaws dropped when we looked at the statements. Through two different distributors. Tunecore showed 5 cents a stream and The Orchard showed 10 cents a stream.

        This is for ‘ad-supported video’. The user has to watch the entire ad to receive the full royalty.

        As Songwriting royalties and Mechanical royalties will also be due, this looks like a VERY lucrative service for the artist and looks like it will be very effective for the advertisers.

        Perhaps a quick revision of my original post is that neither Apple, nor Spotify pay anywhere close to these royalty rates. Perhaps we should be choosing to be on the side of Youtube?

  10. DNog

    Were you hungry for pie when you wrote this article? Seeing as it’s almost completely irrelevant to the headline.

  11. Yep

    The entire industry right now is obsessed with Apple v’s Spotify.


    Like the comment above Apple makes money on hardware. The politics between Apple and the music biz, will force them (maybe) to launch a streaming music service. But, really, Apple do not give a s–t about music! Spotify has an awesome app on the app store.

    Actually, in the last few days Spotify have been doing some seriously great updates to the iPhone app version.

    Seriously, it’s irrelevant. Spotify will rule the streaming space and Apple will rule the device.

    • Remi Swierczek

      Apple or Spotify is not an issue.
      The ISSUE is shortage of cash in streaming model. Global streaming with or without Apple will never exceed $20B in annual revenues. As they get close to that number all other revenues, such as iTunes, Amazon or Google play will shrink to trickle.

      Let’s STOP NOW and convert all streaming, Radio or actually any place playing music to $100B music store!

    • Ed Jennings

      You are wrong about Apple. Apple does value the distributed music model. Apple Music the streaming solution (a re-architected iTunes) is coming. It will include a new music data type which will attempt to reset the high resolution music/video space (so says Bono, who is on the Apple Music Team with Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre, Trent Reznor and Ian Rogers).

      Now if Apple would only incorporate the Beats chassis in the nextgen iPhone then we might have a more interesting music cloud device race.

  12. XT

    “Beats Music is available on Windows and Android; so it comes down to what Apple plans to do next with the Betas Music service, and how they integrate this into a new model if they so choose to include iTunes.”

  13. Ed Jennings

    A pie chart does not a hypothesis make…I must admit Paul you are an interesting music industry provocateur.

  14. Irving Mindreader

    So far, all this pontificating has overlooked one tiny detail. Apple’s balance sheet has $178,000,000,000 USD in cash.

    That’s roughly Coca Cola or AT&T.

    In cash.

    They could buy Disney, in cash alone, and still have $20B left over. Hell, they could buy most of the companies whose names you know and have fortunes left over.

    The only companies who ‘beat’ Apple in core markets, are companies that Apple allows to ‘beat’ them. Spotify is their Android, bigger than Beats, but serving a purpose at the same time.

    What Spotify discover, if anything, around product/market fit or pricing or bundles or curation or what color to paint the breakroom…is ALL grist for the mill at Apple.

    Spotify is free intel on a developing market.

    Lead the way, sucker.

    Maybe I’ll kill you next month. Or next year.

    No rush.

  15. Ed Jennings

    The “supposed” death of Spotify has been greatly exaggerated on this Web site. Wishful thinking is all it is…

  16. Chris

    Paul, your WordPress Social Login plugin is broken — I can’t login with Twitter.

    Anyway, I hope this was another obvious attempt at clickbait, and not a serious article, because you’re implying a whole lot of correlation without any proof of causation.