More People Use Apple Music Than Spotify, Research Shows

More People Use Apple Music Than Spotify, Research Shows
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More People Use Apple Music Than Spotify, Research Shows
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Mike Deerkoski (CC by 2.0)

Slowly but surely, Apple Music is gaining the upper-hand in the on-demand streaming wars.

In December, Apple Music struck gold by hitting 20 million paid subscribers.  Although Spotify’s 50 million mark may dwarf Apple Music, the Cupertino-based company achieved that number in less time.  In fact, it took Apple just 18 months to hit the 20 million mark.

Spotify achieved 50 million paid subscriptions after 8 years, launching in October 2008.  Now, a new study shows Apple Music may actually be winning the streaming wars.

In fact, they may simply have more people using their service.

Verto Analytics published this month’s Verto Index, which analyzes March’s top music streaming properties.  Apple Music topped the Index, with almost 41 million unique visitors in February on mobile devices.  The streaming service counted 20% more monthly unique users than Pandora and Spotify.

One reason for Apple’s elevated uniques undoubtedly comes from three-month free trials.  It may take some time for those figures to normalize, and Apple certainly faces challenges with churn.  But pound for pound, that ‘free tier’ is pulling people away from mega-rivals like Spotify.

Back to the ranking, Pandora came in second place with 32.6 million monthly unique users, and Spotify with 30.4 million.  iHeartRadio came in at fourth place with 28.5 million, followed by SoundCloud at 25.7 million.  Other services that dragged far behind include Amazon Music, Google Play Music, and Slacker Radio.

TIDAL didn’t rank at all (go figure).

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Image by Verto Index.  Click to enlarge.

Spotify remains the top streaming service, thanks to 50 million paid subscriptions.  Yet, despite boasting 100 million+ active users last July, the lower monthly unique figure suggests that Spotify may have exaggerated free audience figures.

However, Spotify stands firm in strong customer loyalty, according to the Verto Index.  Verto’s ‘stickiness rating’ compares daily users to monthly users and helps to identify and quantify the most engaged users.  YouTube Music scored a 35% stickiness rating, but only attracts 2.5 million monthly users.

With an impressive 25% stickiness rating, Spotify attracted 23.2 million monthly users.

Despite a $200 million investment from Sprint, Jay Z’s Tidal tied with Amazon Music, though it can only boast 100,000 monthly users.  Amazon Music on the other hand boasts 12.6 million monthly users.

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Image by Verto Index. Click to Enlarge.

And what about Pandora?

Although Pandora ranked in second place among monthly unique visitors, the company faces immense pressure from investors. In March 2014, the stock peaked at $40.44.  As of writing, the stock stands at $11.90.  While Pandora CEO Tim Westergren opposes a sale of the company to Liberty Media, several board members are still open to selling.

Liberty Media wanted to acquire Pandora at $15 per share.  However, Westergren reportedly wanted an $18 per share price.  Amy Yong, a Macquarie Research analyst, said,

“After all this talk of consolidation or a merger, it seems clear Pandora is trying to be a really strong standalone company.  Much of that will hinge on their ability to do a subscription product and compete with Spotify.”

However, not every analyst agrees with Westergren’s leadership and his refusal to sell the company to Liberty Media.  Rich Greenfield, a BTIG LLC analyst, said,

“Pandora has clearly failed as a public company.”

He warned that the company must sell itself or risk a personal war with the company’s second largest shareholder, Keith Meister’s Corvex Management.

13 Responses

  1. music stowaway

    I was talking to a label insider this week about revenue from steaming and downloads and he said to me that for his label the income from Spotify dwarfs that
    coming from Apple Music.

    Apple Music pays reasonably well and the ratio between Apple Music streams vs iTunes downloads is massively in favor of streams by a factor of ~ a thousand to one.

    So after all the hoo-ha about earning coin from streaming, it now looks like you can, at least with Apple Music anyhow..

    Of course a monster global hit will derive amazing revenue from a whole
    combination of sources..

  2. Okay Sean Spicer ;-)

    “Yet, despite boasting 100 million active users last July, the lower monthly unique users figure shows the Swedish streamer may have exaggerated free audience figures.”

    HAHAHA! Nice try DMN. This Verto report is based on a US 18+ opt-in panel. Spotify’s 100 million + active users are GLOBAL and not restricted to 18+

    Headline should read: “DMN Compares Apple to Oranges, Gets Egg on Face”

  3. Anonymous

    He’s right Paul. Oversight or dishonest attempt to make up falsehoods? Shoddy either way.

    • Remi Swierczek

      All inclusive STREAMING, YouTube, Pandora & XM miss the MERCHANDISE value of the music!

      Net result: $300B of obvious music goodwill is converted to $25B of subs and ads – we hope by 2025!

      Music medieval originated with stream of false endorsements by UMG has to end!

      • Not Anonymous

        Fuck off Remi, you sound like an old man yelling at clouds.

    • Anonymous

      Paul doesn’t care. We’re all reading, and commenting on this click bait like the media on a Trump tweet. His job is done regardless of the validity of his statements.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      That’s a pretty flimsy rebuttal.

      The article basically states that this couldn’t possibly be true, and for that reason, it isn’t. There’s no scientific or fact-based counter-argument that I can see, just musings on why the study might be flawed.

      I’m starting to think we’re putting way to much credibility on Spotify’s self-reported numbers. Maybe I’ll write an article about that.

  4. JustMeAgain

    I use Tidal HIFI. Can’t stand the crappy aac/ogg/mp3 quality.

    Will probably switch to Spotify when they offer lossless. And will probably switch from Spotify to Apple Music if they would offer lossless straming 🙂

    • Questions for Paul

      I like TIDAL, but my biggest question is about those Amazon Music numbers that Paul is using. Amazon Music Unlimited versus Amazon Music are two different things. One is free for prime users and one is a different paid service. I don’t think he differentiated. Numbers seem like a BS comparison.

  5. music stowaway

    Well, let me say this… Apple Music is providing great stream and revenue levels
    and better income than what Spotify is delivering for the same content for the label insider I have spoken with.

    The dollar bill figures tell it all.. if other label insiders can comment here on what they’re experiencing as to Apple Music vs Spotify revenue figures, particularly indy
    labels who don’t have “in bed” arrangements with Spotty.