Spotify still tops other music services, but its market share declined

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Globally, the popularity of music streaming is increasing. By the second quarter of 2021, 523.9 million consumers worldwide subscribed to a music streaming service, according to a new estimate from entertainment research group MIDiA (Music Industry Data and Information Association). Compared to the previous year, this is a rise of 109.5 million (26.4 percent).

With 31 percent of the market share, Spotify continues to be the most subscribed streaming service. Despite this, its dominance is progressively diminishing — it will hold 33 percent of the market by 2020 and 34 percent by 2019. Spotify gained more overall subscribers in the year leading up to Q2 2021 than its rivals; however, although Spotify’s subscriber base expanded by 20%, Amazon Music’s subscriber base rose by 25% during that period. Google’s YouTube Music, on the other hand, had a growth of more than 50% in the year leading up to the second quarter of 2021, making it the only Western streaming service to see a rise in its total market share. According to the company’s data, Tencent Music, which is operated by the Chinese gaming behemoth Tencent, has the same percent market share as Amazon Music.

The market share of Amazon Music and Apple Music may continue to expand. Since this analysis only covers the period up to Q2 2021, it will not reveal the effect of lossless audio, which will become available on both Amazon and Apple in May. Spotify teased the introduction of a high-end subscription service dubbed Spotify Hi-Fi about a year ago, promising that customers will get their music in “CD-quality, lossless audio format.” On the other hand, Spotify has yet to announce when this product will be made available for purchase.

And then there’s Tidal, which has generally catered to users looking for a higher-quality audio listening experience. Even though Tidal’s lossless audio tier costs $9.99 per month, the same as Apple Music and just two dollars more than Amazon Music, Tidal’s lossless audio tier is much more expensive than Apple Music. According to the MIDiA research, Tidal has less than a 2 percent share of the worldwide market. Tidal, founded by Jay-Z and then bought by Block, bills itself as a service that allows musicians to distribute their music “just as the artist intended” (i.e., with outstanding audio quality).

While the concept of an artist-friendly streaming service is still in its early stages, Block’s ownership has broadened the idea to include methods to make music streaming more viable for musicians. Starting at the beginning of this year, Tidal’s highest HiFi Plus tier ($19.99/month) began offering fan-centered royalties, which means that 10 percent of a user’s subscription would go directly to the artists who have received the most attention.

Are you hoping that this decision would help Tidal get new customers who are more concerned with compensating artists than they are with master-quality sound? In any case, Deezer (which is focusing on implementing user-centric payments) has a full 2 percent of the pie, which is far greater than Tidal’s share.

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