Apple Music accumulating subscribers much more quickly than Spotify or Pandora

“When Spotify and Pandora were starting their streaming services many were quick to point out that Apple was about to be disrupted,” Horace Dediu writes for Asymco.

“This perception continued and became more vocal over the years. Seven years in fact,” Dediu writes. “Spotify collected 20 million paying subscribers while Apple did nothing. Pandora grabbed 80 million active listeners and possibly 4 million paying subscribers while Apple did nothing.”

“At first Apple launched a half-hearted streaming service and then a paid service finally showed up with Apple Music in mid 2015. Since then the company managed to add 15 million subscribers,” Dediu writes. “How does a 15 million user base in 1 year compare with the growth rate for the incumbents Spotify and Pandora? The following graph shows the ramps for Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music since their moments of market entry. The accumulation of users by Apple looks to be the fastest yet.”

Music subscriber ramps for Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music - Asymco

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote over a year ago:

Apple Music has rendered Spotify’s future decidedly dimmer.

The best customers are those who pay. As demonstrated by years of data, form disparate sources, those paying customers are also significantly more likely to be iPhone owners than those who’ve settled for poor iPhone facsimiles. A healthy portion of these coveted customers will leave for Apple’s comprehensive offering which offers better family rates, more music, likely exclusives, and seamless integration across all Apple devices. It’ll even work with crappy Windows PCs and Android phones eventually (not that those are likely to be Spotify’s paying customers, but whatever, some of them will join Apple Music and maybe even graduate to Apple devices because of it).

Spotify could quickly be left with an unprofitable system, with a dwindling music library because they cannot afford to pay music royalties.


  1. This graph is a really weird way to look at this data. It would be one thing if you were comparing something like “hamburgers”, but in this case you’re comparing a service that didn’t really have much of an infrastructure in the early days of Spotify.

    If you shift the Apple data over to the right to see the growth rates, it looks like Spotify grew at roughy the same rate during the same period of time, just with a much larger base.

  2. The spin continues. Spotify has twice as many customers as Apple Music. There are reasons why. Apple should concentrate on what i used to do better than anyone else — purchase of music via iTunes.

    1. it took apple about 12 months to get to 15 million, and it took spotify about 75 months to get to 15 million. so it seems the reason why spotify has more customers is that it has been doing this for a lot longer. let’s wait and see where apple is after 75 months. i don’t use streaming, but i do buy music via iTunes, and i am no fan of streaming,

      1. It took mankind millions of years to learn to fly airplanes.

        The Wright Brothers used scientific method to achieve controlled flight, but their efforts would be described as a commercial failure because they just didn’t sell enough airplanes. In comparison, a latecomer company like Piper developed an easy-to fly airplane during the heyday of private aviation, and it took only a few years to sell hundreds of airplanes. Therefore all airplane makers before and after Piper were no good.

        See how fanboy logic works?

    2. Apple should be able to do both with such a huge subscriber base. Remember all those iTunes accounts some people used to brag about? How Apple would be able to convert all those accounts into some huge money-making business. Yeah, it doesn’t look that way. Clearly, no one is impressed. I might be wrong, but I thought I’d heard AppleMusic’s growth rate in terms of paying subscribers was far less than what was expected. Of course, there’s nothing unusual about hearing that meme.

      1. It doesn’t look that way? Their services business alone would be a fortune 500 company. The only reason it doesn’t look big is because the iPhone business dwarfs and distorts everything else.

  3. the graph is deceptive.
    if all 3 of the services did not start at the same time, then what you need to compare is the last 12 months of spotify and the last (which is also the first) 12 months of apple music.
    you can see the rise of both services is virtually identical.
    meaning that spotify is holding its own against the juggernaut of apple.
    thats what the graph says.

  4. You should be able to get “free” music at the expense of advertising. No different than many years of radio. Radio was “free” as long as you accepted commercials. The music industry and its “talent” (said loosely), are greedy. There is no reason to pay $10 a month or more for the privilege. I will never pay a baseless fee to listen to a load of crap. If I like it I’ll buy it. Apple is making a mistake.

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