Total U.S. paid streaming music subscribers have reached 51 million, mostly thanks to Apple Music and Spotify. The two services combined account for at least 80% of paid subscribers.
Streaming music now generates 65% of all music industry revenue in the US, according to the latest data.
MusicWatch shared some of its data with Billboard, which noted that those 51M paid subscribers are supplemented by a further 20M users sharing a paid account (for example, Apple Music’s family plan), and a further 29M on free trials or bundled deals.
Apple Music and Spotify both have tallied over 20 million U.S. subscribers each, while third place Pandora has 6+ million subscribers. The remaining 5 million or so paying subscribers in the roundup are left for Google/YouTube, Amazon Music Unlimited and iHeartRadio to divide amongst themselves.
The report offers this tidbit:
But there’s a twist: an estimated 20 million separate users in the U.S. are currently sharing one of these paid accounts without shelling out money themselves, says MusicWatch. In addition, at least 29 million users are either on free trials of streaming services without having yet converted to paid tiers, or are automatically subscribed to bundled music services without necessarily being active users (e.g. Amazon Prime Music). In total, 157 million people in the country still stream music for free without trials, on platforms like YouTube or Spotify’s free tier. (Note: some users can own both free and paid streaming accounts across different services.)
In addition, MusicWatch says human-curated playlists, like those promoted by Apple Music, aren’t a heavy draw for subscribers.
The reality is that most users don’t care about playlists when deciding whether to pay for a service, and playlists don’t provide enough immediately-apparent value to convince users on the edge.
It should be noted that Amazon Prime Music wasn’t included in calculating self-paying subscribers, as it the service is automatically included in all Amazon Prime memberships whether or not the members want the added benefit.