Apple Doesn’t Disclose Apple Music Subscriber Totals — The NMPA Just Leaked the Numbers

Apple Music subscriber totals
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Apple Music subscriber totals
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Photo Credit: NMPA

The NMPA reveals Apple Music subscriber totals and other DSP subscriber counts at the agency’s annual meeting in New York.

While some digital service providers (DSPs) are forthcoming about their subscriber counts, others, such as Apple, prefer to keep that information close to the chest. That said, David Israelite explained at the annual meeting of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) in New York last month that for the first time, the NMPA was able to determine the number of subscribers each platform achieved in the United States.

“This is information that has not before been made public — some of these companies report on their subscribers; some do not,” said Israelite, NMPA CEO and President.

Spotify counted 44.4 million paying subscribers in the United States as of February, while the company’s biggest rival, Apple Music, is revealed to have 32.6 million subscribers — making it the market’s second-largest subscription music service.

Historically, Apple has revealed very little about how many subscribers are paying to stream music on its platform. The company confirmed in June 2019 that Apple Music had surpassed 60 million global subscribers. Still, no official numbers have surfaced since then, nor have numbers specific to the US appeared before now.

Israelite reveals Amazon Music as the third-largest subscription music streaming service in the US, with 29.3 million subscribers. The company published its worldwide growth metrics for the first time on January 22, 2020, revealing that it has more than 55 million customers (paying subscribers plus trial users) globally.

YouTube came in fourth with 8.5 million subscribers in February, according to NMPA data, while Pandora had 2.4 million. YouTube’s subscriber count in the US seems low given the company’s global numbers of 80 million across Music and Premium subscribers in 2022 — but given YouTube’s options of bundling a Music subscription with Premium, it stands to reason that comparatively fewer users are subscribed solely to YouTube Music without also having Premium.

While it’s difficult to ascertain which companies are reporting data from their bundle options instead of their standalone music platforms, many of these companies have raised their subscription prices while maintaining subscriber growth.

Israelite says that the fact that both Apple Music and Amazon Music saw growth after raising their prices in the United States “shows you that music continues to be undervalued in the pricing by digital music services. We have a long way to go. But I am hopeful that this new information will be the encouragement that the industry needs to get pricing where it should be.”