King No More: Apple Music and Spotify Overtake YouTube In Music Streaming

King No More: Apple Music and Spotify Overtake YouTube in Music Streaming
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King No More: Apple Music and Spotify Overtake YouTube in Music Streaming
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Image by Alessandro T. (CC by 2.0)

Has Google grown overconfident on YouTube? Have Apple Music and Spotify finally dethroned the controversial king of music streaming?

Trusted market monitor BuzzAngle released a new report, and it’s not pretty. For the second straight time, American consumers pay more to Spotify and Apple Music for music streams than YouTube.

The 2016 Year-End Report details a few interesting facts. First, audio stream consumption continues growing at a phenomenal rate. Last year, overall music streams jumped 82.6% to total 250 billion streams in the United States alone.  Furthermore, album and individual track sales continue declining.

In total digital video streams, YouTube only saw a dismal 7.5% growth, compared to Spotify and Apple Music’s 82.6% growth. In the fourth quarter of 2016, video streams were lower than Q3 2015 levels, totaling 45.34 billion streams. This includes both YouTube and Vevo total views. BuzzAngle’s tally includes premium content identified tracks. In addition, total 2016 on-demand audio streams totaled over 250.7 billion, with video platforms trailing at 181.3 billion.

These numbers signal a dramatic market reversal, and bad news for Google and YouTube. Back in July, BuzzAngle reported a 23% growth in on-demand music streams on digital video platforms for the first half of 2016. Meanwhile, audio streaming platforms like Apple Music and Spotify experienced a 58.3% growth. Audio streaming overtook video platforms 114.23 billion to 95.17 billion. Furthermore, the music industry may now shift to a subscription model for revenue instead of relying on ad-based revenue. In addition, BuzzAngle’s report, at least in the foreseeable future, minimalizes YouTube’s controversial “value gap.”

Several additional report key takeaways include:

  • Drake is the 2016 Artist of the Year with 6.1 million in total album consumption.
  • American listeners streamed over 28 million unique songs. Consumers only purchased 7.3 million unique songs as well as 1.4 million unique albums.
  • Overall album sales including digital albums were down 15.6% and 19.4% respectively.
  • Individual track sales also fell 24.8% compared to 2015, 734.2 million vs. 975.8 million.
  • Vinyl sales increased (surprisingly) 25.9% over 2015, returning to 1991 levels.

10 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Youtube gets something like 2 billion views per day…

    I doubt they’re freaking out about a relatively minor loss in music views.


    • Anonymous

      Don’t say that. Music was an extremely important selling point to YouTube. So was being #1.

      But Google didn’t fight for it — and I mean, not at all — so they lost.

  2. Remi Swierczek

    All three are NOT TOO BRIGHT busy bodies SHRINKING $200B of music goodwill obvious to an imbecile to $25B of subs and ads! …only if they work very hard by 2025.

    UMG induced music suicide in full progress!

    • Remi Swierczek

      Ugh, are you still spouting your nonsense? I thought you were gone once and for all. Good thing I’m around to keep you in check.


  3. Anonymous

    Guess YouTube just didn’t turn out the way most of us hoped.

    It’s a bit like Trump, it’s not something you want to support.

  4. Anonymous

    There are many reasons for YouTube’s decline, but the lame video player that replaced Flash is one of them.

  5. Jason Flom

    Enter Lyor Cohen, the Donald Trump of the music business, he can fix anything, just ask him.

    • Anonymous

      “Enter Lyor Cohen, the Donald Trump of the music business”

      Not necessary, the music business is bankrupt already.

  6. Top Secret

    Really let’s face it.. the modern recorded music business is about consumers
    streaming the hits..

    It’s not about vinyl or CD or downloads.. it’s all about listens .. and the world is
    listening to more music than ever and it’s through streaming..

    All you fellow songwriters, publishers, producers, artists, labels have to get with the
    future (and the present) and make this new world work for you..

    There’s never been a better time to be in the record business..

    A fully equipped recording studio inside your laptop/desktop computer..

    Global distribution where entry is open to anyone.. gone are the old world

    Big global smash hits still make millions for the creative teams behind the hits..