Apple Music Is the World's Second Most Popular Music Streaming Service Behind Spotify

Apple Music is the second most popular music streaming service globally, but remains far behind Spotify in its continuing quest for streaming dominance, according to new market research.

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According to a new report by Midia Research, ‌Apple Music‌ subscribers made up 15% of all streaming service listeners in the global market in the second quarter of 2021, placing it in a distant second place behind Spotify.

Spotify remained the dominant service, commanding more than double that amount with 31% of the worldwide market share, although this represents a small drop from 33% in 2020. Amazon Music and Tencent Music both took a 13% market share, with YouTube Music making up 8% of subscriptions globally.

Spotify remains the DSP with the highest market share (31%), but this was down from 33% in Q2 2020 and 34% in Q2 2019. With Apple Music being a distant second with 15% market share, and Spotify adding more subscribers in the 12 months leading up to Q2 2021 than any other single DSP, there is no risk of Spotify losing its leading position anytime soon – but the erosion of its share is steady and persistent.

According to the report, Amazon Music again outperformed Spotify in terms of growth (25% versus 20%, respectively), however YouTube Music was the standout performer for the second successive year, growing by more than 50% in the 12 months leading up to the second quarter of 2021.

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YouTube Music was the only service to increase its global market share during this the period, thanks to its popularity with Gen Z and younger Millennials, according to the report.

Google was once the laggard of the space, but the launch of YouTube Music has transformed its fortunes, growing by more than 50% in the 12 months leading up to Q2 2021. YouTube Music was the only Western DSP to increase global market share during this the period. YouTube Music particularly resonates among Gen Z and younger Millennials, which should have alarm bells ringing for Spotify, as their core base of Millennial subscribers from the 2010s in the West are now beginning to age.

Meanwhile, Apple continued to bolster its music streaming service in 2021 by adding support for Spatial Audio and Lossless audio at no extra cost to subscribers. The company also introduced a new subscription plan called Apple Music Voice that exclusively relies on ‌Siri‌ for music playback and user interaction.

The report notes that the global market for streaming music grew by 109.5 million by the end of Q2 2021 (around 26% year-on-year) and the total number of subscribers reached almost 524 million listeners.

Top Rated Comments

ZipZilla Avatar
18 weeks ago
Spotify's Mac desktop app is far superior to Apple Music on the app. It has a responsive, quick UI. It is easy to find things and songs stream immediately.

Apple Music, on the other hand, is slow and clunky, full of bugs and doesn't work half the time. It's the worst Mac App I use (and it's from Apple, on their own platform.)

I know people say this all the time, but it's true: Steve is spinning in his grave.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Agit21 Avatar
18 weeks ago
Funny how apple fans defend apple music because the artists are paid more. Meanwhile when talking about the ios app store fees they defend apple and talk about greedy developers :)
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dz5b609 Avatar
18 weeks ago
I would love to see total hours listened as a metric, because correct me if I'm wrong but the only reason Amazon music is on that list is because of it's inclusion in Prime not because anyone actually uses it.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HideAndSeek Avatar
18 weeks ago
I would love to see the numbers for individual countries. Here in Germany literally everyone uses Spotify.

There are only very few people using Apple Music who are deep into the Apple-Ecosystem.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TehFalcon Avatar
18 weeks ago
Meh. I actually prefer Apple Music, not only for its integration, but because it has everything I listen to, live radio, and great playlists...oh and lossless. Lets not forget Spotify also pays artists the least.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
swingerofbirch Avatar
18 weeks ago
The Apple Music app on macOS alone is a reason for me not to use Apple Music. I tried it recently and it became demonic. I signed into my Apple account so it showed all of my previous iTunes purchases. After hitting play, for some reason it would try to play a song then go instantly to the next one without actually playing it, and because there were music videos in the library it kept switching in and out of full screen mode on its own. It was an absolute mess of an experience. I kept hitting stop but it had taken over the computer and insisted on continuing to play the next song and would switch to full screen for a music video but then not play it and switch right out for the next song, which it also wouldn't play, going through thousands of old songs one after another and not playing any of them.

I remember there was a recent version of iTunes as well where just creating playlists (something Apple had perfected) was so convoluted. They either eliminated drag and drop or made it very confusing—I can't remember which. There was instead something with a Done button. I can't remember exactly. If you need a Done button to make a playlist, you've messed up.

Spotify on the other hand works much like Apple software used to. It just works. When you start dragging a song it's very clear where your targets are. Everything is a "link" you can drag and drop, whether in the search results or now playing section.

I really have no reason to pick one over the other based on the catalog (in fact given that I have old iTunes purchases, it should give Apple an edge), so it's a pretty bad testament that Apple's own first party software is so bad I would choose Spotify based on its superior software. I really don't understand how--not even considering large companies like Spotify--there are small companies with a few employees that make indie Mac software that is so much better than the native apps Apple puts outs. I don't do anything mobile so I can't compare the iOS apps. I'm a desktop luddite with an Airport Express connected to bookshelf speakers. Maybe too old school for Apple to care about as much.

And why is every app with Apple part of an OS update? Spotify updates constantly regardless of your OS version. Someone mentioned above Apple is retooling Apple Music with an OS update. Why are other developers able to just update their apps so seamlessly?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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