Amazon is quietly becoming a threat to Spotify and Apple Music

Leo Sun for The Motley Fool:

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.


  1. So it ends up with Amazon at #1, Apple #2 and Spotify a distant third. This is Apple’s market to lose but Amazon is shrewd tying all these things together in a convenient package.

  2. Apple will continue to get its butt kicked by other companies even when it starts with a decent advantage. All those years AppleTV went almost nowhere and stayed as a “hobby”. Now, the market is filled with Fire TVs and Rokus. What kind of an attitude is that? Amazon is willing to do whatever it takes to dominate while Apple will start something and then doesn’t follow up. It just seems to me as Apple does things rather half-heartedly and when I think of all the reserve cash they sit on, it just seems like a waste. Apple is basically a hardware company and I think they have enough cash and resources not to get beaten by any other company if they put full effort behind any specific product.

    1. Apple will go nowhere as long as Tim Cook is around. Look around the tech world and you find endless cases where Apple just sat on its ass while the forward thinking innovative companies skated to where the puck was going. TV, Cloud, etc. You name it, Tim Cook sat on his ass.

  3. Pfft. Whatever. I don’t see this a being any different than people buying their CDs at Wal-Mart back in the day. Remember Wal-Mart’s digital download service? I didn’t think so. Apple has nothing to worry about in this regard. Hardware-wise, that may be another story.

  4. Apple has to up the game, higher bit rate like Tidal, Amazon is about to do it. It makes a hella of a difference when you have good speakers. Logitech, Bose, Audio Engine are crap speakers. Beats are crap headphones. Those are the products that Apple’s & Spotify’s compressed music caters too. No excuse to not have higher quality streams at this point in time. Apple, you say you care about music, provide the music at higher quality before Amazon takes #1 on you and Spotify!

  5. Tim Cook is greedy. Apple’s corporate greed has been Cook’s major contribution. Around the release of the original iPhone, their other products could be justified purchases as value propositions. That is rarely the case anymore and more likely that I look at a potential purchase price as ridiculous and ask myself if I really have to have this that badly. Add to that the unending barrage of subscription fees and Apple no longer seems to appreciate its customers but view us as some sort of financial instrument that pays them monthly dividends.

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