Apple Music, Not Spotify, Ranks as the Most Popular Music Streaming Service

Spotify’s splashy direct listing is next week.  But are investors buying into something second-best?

Last month, the Wall Street Journal published a surprising report.  According to the newspaper, this summer, Apple Music, not Spotify, will become the top US streaming music service.  Potentially unnerving Spotify’s investors, Apple Music will have the most US subscribers.  Now, a new report may cement WSJ’s analysis.

People just use Apple Music more…

Apple first launched its music service just under three years ago.  In that time, it has managed to reach more than half of Spotify’s global subscriber tally.  Spotify reached slightly over 70 million subscribers two months ago.  It first launched in late 2008.

Further cementing Apple Music’s astonishing growth, it ranked as the most popular music streaming service last month.  That’s according to Verto Analytics, which recently published its Verto Index.  This month, the company took a look at top streaming music properties.

With a 23% monthly reach, Apple’s music streaming service had 49.5 million monthly unique users, most of them paying subscribers.  Spotify landed in second with a 22% reach, having 47.7 million users.

Interestingly, most people streamed Apple Music on their smartphones — that is, 99% of them.  Only a few users their tablets, and even fewer listened on PCs or Macs.  With a 55% mobile-only share, the Swedish streaming music service had much higher usage on computers.

Pandora and SoundCloud both competed for the next top spots.  Showing its waning popularity, the former had 36.8 million monthly unique users; SoundCloud had 34.2 million.  More people streamed Pandora on their smartphones.  SoundCloud had higher usage among listeners on PCs and Macs.

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Image by Verto Analytics

…But, people actually love Spotify and Pandora more.

In terms of ‘stickiness,’ a measurement that tracks users’ loyalty and engagement, Spotify readily beat out Apple Music.  More people engaged with the Swedish music service than Apple’s, 28% to 19 %.  The former’s users racked up an impressive 61 monthly sessions – around two sessions per day.  Pandora had the second highest stickiness rating with 22% – users engaged with the app 43 times.

By contrast, Verto Analytics only tracked 12 sessions per month on Apple Music.  In addition, with 13 monthly sessions, TuneIn barely edged out Apple’s streaming music service, 20% to 19%.

In February, users spent an average of 2 hours and 56 minutes streaming their favorite music on Spotify.  Pandora had the highest listening hours with 5 hours and 44 minutes.  TuneIn took third with 3 hours and 15 minutes.  Apple Music had the lowest music listening time with just 41 minutes.  Yet, among these four streaming services, Spotify had the lowest average session duration, right behind Apple Music.

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Image by Verto Analytics

More women love Apple and Pandora; men prefer Spotify.

In Verto’s gender breakdown, Apple Music and Pandora had more female listeners over male, 56% to 44%, and 59% to 41%, respectively.  Spotify remained more popular among men over women, 56% to 44%.

Analyzing the audience, at 23%, Apple Music had an equal share of millennial listeners (25-34) and baby boomers (55+).  Spotify had a higher share of Gen Z users (18-24) and millennials, 29% and 26%, respectively.  Pandora had more millennials and baby boomers, 28% and 22%, respectively.

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Image by Verto Analytics

Speaking on the findings, Hannu Verkasalo, CEO of Verto Analytics, discussed the recent issues surrounding streaming services.

“The past year has been especially eventful for music streaming services, with SoundCloud’s near-collapse, iHeartMedia’s bankruptcy, and Spotify’s much-anticipated IPO and continued US growth.  Spotify’s rise to one of the top streaming platforms serves is a testament to how the music streaming market is supporting the music industry to turn into a growth mode again, with digital revenues overcoming the revenues with physical records.”

For more information on this study, you can check out the full report here.


Featured image by Jeshoots (CC0)

8 Responses

  1. Remi Swierczek

    …and both of them are just all inclusive ON DEMAND Radio stations with subscription rates below government mandated subs for Radio and TV in EU.

    Together with YouTube, five more relevant streamers and 12 music and lyric ID (money losing- all but Google) deadbeats keep music in the open and KILL $300B of music goodwill OBVIOUS to BORAT’s brother, the goat trader!

  2. Alex

    Eddy Cue from Apple said 3 weeks they have 38m subs + 5m trials. So 43m users total. But these guys claim they have 50m MAUs? Seems like quality analysis…

    • Remi Swierczek

      Cue is CLUELESS, for the moment on Ek’s dope at UMG request!
      Soon they will introduce, ecological, black and white iPhone and cult will take it.

  3. John

    Great Article! Speaking of, have you heard of Sound Legends? It basically helps take your music career to the next level – legendary status. Sound Legends is an online music service with a complete suite of easy-to-use tools and resources to help independent artists achieve legendary status. They even help independent artists get their music copyrighted, which is the ultimate game changer. Check it out here:

  4. Bartek

    All those platforms and features, but still none of them allow to export playlists and move them somewhere else. I had to use STAMP. It was painless, easy and quick, but I think users should have this illusion of choice.

  5. Anonymous

    Mr. Sanchez writes excellent articles. Thank you!! Great info.