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Streaming music report sheds light on battle between Spotify, Amazon, Apple, and Google

Streaming music report sheds light on battle between Spotify, Amazon, Apple, and Google


Spotify’s still way ahead

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Market share for the world’s largest music streaming services.
Market share for the world’s largest music streaming services.
Image: Midia Research

Spotify was the largest music streaming service in the world as of the second quarter of 2021 with a market share of 31 percent, with Apple Music in second place at 15 percent, and Amazon Music and Tencent Music each tied at third with 13 percent apiece. That’s according to a report from Midia Research, a media and entertainment-focused research and analysis agency. 

Although exact subscriber numbers and market shares may have changed in the months since Q2 2021 (the use of older data is because of how long the market analysis process takes, Midia tells me), the report sheds light on how the world’s biggest music streaming services are stacking up against one another. While Spotify releases official subscriber numbers at the end of each quarter (most recently in October last year), competitors like Apple and Amazon are less forthcoming with exact figures, and the most recent official figures compiled by Music Ally are from 2019 and 2020 respectively. 

Apple and Amazon Music have reported market shares of 15 and 13 percent

Based on Midia’s claim that there were 523.9 million total music streaming subscribers in Q2 2021, this suggests Spotify had just over 162.4 million subscribers paying for its music streaming service (although the company’s official figure for Q2 was 165 million). Midia’s estimates would then put Apple Music at almost 78.6 million subscribers for the quarter, and Amazon Music and China-exclusive Tencent Music at a little over 68.1 million each. YouTube Music follows up in fifth place with an 8 percent market share corresponding to 41.9 million subscribers.

According to Midia, the music streaming market is continuing to grow, and increased by 26.4 percent to the second quarter of last year. Although Spotify’s commanding lead means it’s unlikely to be overtaken anytime soon, Midia notes that its market share dropped from 33 percent in Q2 2020 to 31 percent in Q2 2021, and its growth was outperformed by Amazon and YouTube Music, with the latter growing by over 50 percent compared to a year earlier. Growth in emerging markets was reportedly also strong, with Yandex, Tencent, and NetEast growing by a combined 37 percent.

Given these figures date back to the second quarter of last year, they’re unlikely to show the full impact of the lossless audio streaming changes that were made last year. Apple Music, for example, added lossless-quality and spatial audio streaming features in June, while Amazon stopped charging extra for lossless streaming in May. However despite making a big splash with a lossless audio announcement of its own, Spotify’s new Hi-Fi tier missed its planned 2021 release window.