Global Music Streaming Adds Another Year of Historic Growth

Global music streaming growth continues in stride, matching the same rate of growth this time last year, according to new research by Midia Research.

At the end of June 2019 there were 304.9 million music subscribers globally. That was up 34 million at the end of 2018, while June 2018 to June 2019 subscriber growth was 69 million, exactly the same rate as one year earlier.

The data is presented in Midia’s Music Subscriber Market Shares report, which includes quarterly data from Q4 2015 to Q2 2019 for 23 streaming services across 30 different markets.

“Spotify remained the market leader with 108 million subscribers, giving it a global market share of 35.6%, the same share it had at the end of 2018 and at the end of 2017,” Midia said in a blog report announcing the research results. “In what is becoming an increasingly competitive market, Spotify has continued to grow at the same rate as the overall market.”

Both Apple and Amazon have grown market share, though Apple is showing signs of slowing. At the end of 2017 Amazon had 11.4% global market share, pushing up to 12.6% by end June 2019 with 38.3 million subscribers. Apple went from 17.3% to 18% over the same period, hitting 54.7 million subscribers. But while Amazon added share every quarter, Apple peaked at 18.2% in Q1 2019 before dropping slightly back to 18% in Q2 2019. At the same time, Apple increased market share in the United Staters, going from 31% in Q4 2018 to 31.7% in Q2 2019 with 28.9 million subscribers.

Google, similarly, has grown n recent quarters following the launch of YouTube Music, from just 3% in Q4 2017 to 5.3% in Q2 2019. Google appears to be far more committed to subscriptions, pushing both YouTube Premium and YouTube Music hard, with a total of 16.9 music subscriptions in Q2 2019, compared to just 5.9 million at the end of 2017.

“With the big four all gaining market share, the simple arithmetic is that smaller players have lost it,” said Midia. “The share accounted for by all other services fell from 32.8% end-2017 to 28.4% mid-2019. This of course does not mean that all of these services lost subscribers; indeed, most grew, just not by as much as the bigger players.

Of the other services, most are large single-market players such as Tencent (31 million – China), Pandora (7.1 million – US) MelOn (5.3 million – South Korea) with Deezer now the only other global player of scale (8.5 million).

Midia predicts major Western markets, such as the U.S. and United Kingdom will likely slow from Q4 2019 through to 2020. Meanwhile, emerging markets will pick up pace.

The firm’s report cites that in Q3 Tencent’s subscriber growth accelerated at an unprecedented rate to hit 35.4 million subscribers. Tencent could be entering a growth phase, and at just 2.6% paid penetration there is a lot of potential growth ahead of it. ByteDance could create a new emerging market dynamic with its rumored, forthcoming streaming service.

“Western rights holders may remain cautious about licensing it into non-Western markets. The unintended consequence is that the staid western streaming market could by end 2020 be looking enviously upon a more diverse and innovative Asian streaming market,” said Midia.