Most conversations about streaming music revolve around the three market leaders: Spotify, Apple Music, and Sirius XM’s Pandora.
Spotify finished last quarter with 217 million monthly active users (MAUs) and 100 million paid subscribers; Apple hit 60 million paid subscribers earlier this year; and Pandora — which relies more on ad-supported free listeners than paid subscribers — finished last quarter with 66 million MAUs, but just 6.9 million subscribers.
However, investors should also be watching Amazon, which is reportedly gaining streaming music listeners at a faster pace than all three of the aforementioned platforms. The Financial Times recently reported that the number of subscribers on Amazon Music Unlimited grew 70% annually over the past year and that it had 32 million subscribers on all its music platforms combined, including Unlimited and Prime Music.
For comparison, Spotify’s total number of subscribers rose 25% annually during the same period. Apple Music’s subscribers rose about 50% annually during its last update in April, and Pandora’s subscribers grew just 23%.
MacDailyNews Take: No one who’s smart overlooks Amazon in anything. As Sun notes, Amazon Music Unlimited costs the same as Spotify and Apple Music at $10 per month. However, Prime members can subscribe to the service for $8 a month, while subscribers who only listen on Echo devices pay just $4 a month. Amazon also offers a free ad-supported version for all Alexa devices. Amazon is obviously smart to leverage both their large installed bases of Echo owners and Prime members.
That said, Apple Music has the largest catalog of any service, by far, and also the best user demographics, plus it’s already there on every iPhone, iPad, and Mac sold. Apple is is a strong position to eventually overtake Spotify in paying customers.