Apple Music Takes 2nd Place Among 500,000,000+ Music Subscribers

Guess who came out on top?
Apple Music Credit: Apple
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It’s hard to argue that streaming music services have become the way that most folks enjoy listening to music these days, and a new market research report shows just how widespread that’s become — and exactly how the big players have carved things up.

According to MIDiA Research, Apple Music remains in second place for the most widely used platform, not surprisingly lagging behind Spotify, which still continues to lead the pack by a wide margin.

  • Specifically, Spotify accounted for 31% of the market in the second quarter of 2021 — the most recent timeframe for which figures are available.
  • Apple Music was in a distant second at 15%, slightly edging out Amazon Music, which came in with a 13% slice of the pie.
  • China’s Tencent Music also accounted for 13%, while Google’s YouTube Music accounted for 8%.

What’s perhaps more interesting is that the total number of people paying for streaming music services now exceeds the half a billion mark, with 523.9 million subscribers across Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and a slew of others.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that MIDiA’s Spotify numbers don’t include those on the free tier, so the total number of folks listening to Spotify is clearly much higher.

Apple Music, of course, doesn’t have a free tier per se — and likely never will — however it’s fair to say there are a considerable number of folks taking advantage of Apple’s 3–6 month free trials during any given period of time.

Spotify Slowly Losing Ground

Even though Spotify still has a very solid lead, it does appear that other services are slowly chipping away at that, and there’s reason to believe many of those listeners are going over to Apple Music.

According to MIDiA’s report, Spotify had a 33% market share in 2020, and a 34% share the year before that. Even so, Spotify reportedly added more subscribers in the 12 months leading up to the Q2 2021 numbers than any other streaming music service. Still, it appears to be losing customers more quickly than it’s gaining them.

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.

MIDiA Research

Of course, MIDiA has no way of knowing where these users are going, since you can’t just measure losses versus gains. The streaming music market is still growing, and all of these services attract many entirely new subscribers each year — those that have never subscribed to any streaming music service, at least not regularly.

However, Spotify’s lackadaisical attitude to embracing Apple products and technologies like the HomePod and AirPlay 2 have made it quite unpopular among Apple fans. Spotify’s community forums are full of Apple users expressing their displeasure with the service over these limitations, some of which have already taken their business over to Apple Music, and many more who are threatening to do if Spotify doesn’t get its act together soon.

Still, it’s hard to say with any certainty where the sands are shifting. MIDiA didn’t have much to say specifically about Apple Music, which leaves us to conclude that Apple is playing the usual “slow and steady” game. The report does note that Amazon Music outperformed Spotify in terms of growth, while adding that YouTube Music is becoming a “standout success story” for Google, which was previously “the laggard of the space.”

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