A few decades ago, listening to virtually any music at any time and place would have been a dream come true for many. In the 21st century, it’s just another mobile app among millions of others – thanks to the internet mostly.
When Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877 (the first device that could record music), the recorded sounds could be played just once. This might be a shocker for many as most of us are in the habit of re-repeating our favourite tracks – even multiple times a day.
Fast forward a century, we’ve passed through many stages of the evolution of how we listen to music, including vinyl records, cassette tapes, CDs, Walkman, and iPod. And now, we’ve online music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music, among many others.
Not surprisingly, the title of “the most famous and downloaded music app” goes to Spotify. The Spotify app was downloaded more than 9.31 million times in September 2020 in Google Play Store alone. It’s the top music app in the Apple App Store as well, and so, in other words, it’s the most famous music streaming app in the world.
In this article, we’ll cover every vital Spotify statistics you need to know. Going through these stats will also give you some idea as to why Apple Music and YouTube Music – offered by the two dominant mobile operating systems in the world – are yet to win the hearts of the majority of music lovers. Let’s get started.
Spotify: A Brief Introduction
Spotify is a digital music, video, and podcast streaming service launched in October 2008. Users can access more than 60 million tracks and 1.9 million podcast titles from record labels and media companies all over the world.
Spotify follows a freemium model – meaning, basic features are free along with in-app ads and can be accessed by anyone without spending a penny. However, additional features such as offline and ad-free listening are accessible only if you subscribe to the Spotify premium membership.
Also, the sound quality increases from 160kbps to 320 kbps when you opt for premium. On a side note, you can stream at a low rate of 24kps as well.
In short, with either a freemium or premium subscription, you can access the following features.
- Build a music collection, also known as your library.
- The Browse and Search feature to choose what you want to listen to.
- Create your own Radio stations.
- Check out what your friends, celebrities, and artists are listening to.
- Get recommendations such as Daily Mix, Discover Weekly, and Release Radar.
Spotify is currently valued at US$46 billion. Although Spotify’s shares have been steadily growing for the last three years, it is interesting to note that it lost nearly US$419 million in the second quarter of 2020 alone. Spotify points to the dip in ad revenue due to COVID’s impact as the primary reason for revenue loss.
Spotify has 320 million monthly active users, which includes 144 million premium subscribers. Its launch in Russia and 12 new markets across Europe did help in increasing the number of users by a couple of millions.
It’s interesting to note that over a span of five years, the number of Spotify premium subscribers worldwide has increased nearly ten times its initial figures.
One of the biggest reasons that contribute to Spotify’s success is its intricate method of collecting and utilising user data. Instead of offering the same, repetitive tracks and genres, Spotify releases new content that users can embrace based on their mood and pop-culture.
Spotify Statistics 2021
Before looking at Spotify-specific statistics, here are some stats about the music streaming industry worldwide.
- The music streaming industry accounts for 56.1% of the total global music revenue.
- In 2019, there were more than 350 million paying online music service subscribers.
- As of June 2020, there are 72 million subscribers for Apple Music worldwide.
- As of January 2020, there are 7 million subscribers worldwide for Deezer.
- In 2019, Post Malone was the most streamed artist in the United States.
Spotify User Statistics
- Spotify has 185 million ad-supported monthly active users worldwide.
- There are 144 million premium Spotify subscribers worldwide. Interestingly, the number was just 18 million in the first quarter of 2015.
- More than 65,000 playlists were created by users titled “BLM” or “Black Lives Matter”.
- Nearly 27% of Spotify users signed up for a free trial, and out of those, 81% became paid users.
- 55% of Spotify users are millennials.
- An average Spotify user listens to at least 41 unique artists a week.
- An average Spotify user pays US$5.50 per month to use the platform.
Spotify Usage Statistics
- In August 2020, Spotify.com witnessed 281.5 million unique monthly visitors. However, the all-time high was in December of 2017, when the website attracted 315 million unique monthly visitors.
- 6 AM – 9 AM was the most popular time to listen on Spotify.
- 44% of Spotify users use the platform on a daily basis.
Spotify Content Statistics
- Blinding Lights by The Weeknd was the most-streamed track on Spotify worldwide, followed by Dance Monkey by Tones and I and The Box by Roddy Ricch.
- Dakiti by Bad Bunny and Jhay Cortez was the most-streamed weekly track on Spotify worldwide. It was streamed more than 38.56 million times in the third week of December 2020 alone.
- Bad Bunny, Drake, J Balvin, Juice WRLD, and The Weeknd were the most-streamed artists on Spotify in 2020.
- Bad Bunny was the most popular and streamed artist on Spotify globally and amassed more than 8.3 billion streams.
- In 2020, YHLQMDLG by Bad Bunny was the most-streamed album worldwide, followed by After Hours and Hollywood’s Bleeding.
- The most popular genre in 2020 was pop music.
- Nearly 40,000 new songs are added to Spotify every day.
- The Joe Rogan Experience was the most-listened podcast of Spotify.
- Shape of You by Ed Sheeran is the most played track of all time.
- In 2019, Ed Sheeran was the artist with the most monthly listeners of all time on Spotify worldwide.
- Society and Culture is the most popular podcast category on Spotify. It’s followed by Comedy and then Lifestyle & Health.
- There are more than four billion playlists on Spotify. 36% of all the playlists belong to the user-generated content (UGC) category.
- In 2020, Spotify witnessed a spike in work-from-home-themed playlists and nostalgia-themed playlists.
- “Today’s Top Hits” is the most followed playlist on Spotify with more than 26 million followers. The particular playlist is also responsible for increasing streams by nearly 20 million.
- Along with the playlist “Today’s Top Hits”, including tracks into playlists such as “New Music Friday” significantly increased the likelihood of a song to be successful – even if the artists were unknown.
- 85% of all music streamed on Spotify belongs to four record labels – Sony Music, Warner Music, Universal Music, and Merlin.
Spotify User Demographics Statistics
- The majority of Spotify users in the US are millennials. Interestingly, in the United States, Spotify reaches almost half of the 16 to 24-year-olds every week.
- 23.7% of mobile users in the US use Spotify.
- 25% of Americans use Spotify monthly.
- Spotify is available in 92 markets globally.
- Europe is the biggest market in terms of Spotify free users as well as premium subscribers.
- Spotify is a male-dominated platform. Interestingly, its competitor, Apple Music, is a female-dominated platform.
- 67% of all Spotify listening happens on mobile devices.
Spotify Revenue Statistics
- In the United States, the monthly minimum wage is set at US$1400. In that sense, an artist needs to gather nearly 2.13 million plays for their tracks (in total) in Spotify to earn minimum wage.
- Spotify premium’s average revenue per user (ARPU) worldwide is close to US$5.12. The ARPU seems to be falling every year.
- In 2019, Spotify generated revenue of over US$8.25 billion.
- In 2019, Spotify reported an operating loss of 73 million euros.
- In 2019, 74.54% of Spotify’s revenue went towards royalty payments.
- In 2019, Spotify endured a net loss of 186 million euros.
- Since its launch in 2008, Spotify has paid around US$23.36 to music rights holders.
- Spotify claims to return 70% of revenue gained back to the music industry.
- Universal Music, Sony Music, and Warner Music together generate nearly US$19 million as daily streaming revenue.
Top Spotify Facts
- Spotify is the most popular and preferred music streaming service in the United States among 18 to 29-year-olds.
- In the United States, Spotify is the most commonly used app for listening to podcasts.
- In 2019, Spotify spent 615 million euros on research and development.
- Spotify has more than 2,121 employees in the United States, 1,437 employees in Sweden, and 350+ employees in the United Kingdom.
- 38.7% of Spotify’s employees identify as female.
- 38.4% of managers at Spotify are women.
- Nearly 15% of Spotify employees are Asians, 5.5% Hispanic, and 6.1% black.
- Spotify is the fifth most popular music and video app in the United States.
- Spotify Ltd is one of the leading mobile app publishers in the United States, with 44.31 million monthly active users.
- Billie Elish is Spotify’s most-streamed female artist, followed by Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande.
- Spotify went public in April 2018 and had a market cap of US$26.5 billion after the first day of trading.
- Spotify has a net promoter score (NPS) of 66.
Spotify vs Other Music Streaming Services Compared
By mid-2020, Apple Music had 72 million subscribers. It is second to Spotify in terms of popularity and is the second-largest music streaming service in the world. Plans start at US$4.99 per month, and for US$14.99 per month, you can opt for a family plan that gives access to 6 users.
You can stream more than 70 million songs and even download them for offline listening. In Apple Music, you can also export your entire iTunes library. You can access the service from multiple devices for every subscription plan – without any distinction between iOS and Android devices.
Although Apple Music’s UI design isn’t as intuitive as that of Spotify’s, it has numerous curated playlists and the 24X7 Beats1 radio station. Apple Music also has Apple Watch and Siri integration. If you’re a loyal fan of the Apple ecosystem, it might seem to be a comfortable option over Spotify.
Although the e-commerce section of Amazon.com frequently runs into controversies regarding underpaid employees, it’s interesting to note that Amazon Music has the highest average payment per stream (US$0.01196/stream) among all the streaming services. To put that in perspective, Amazon Music offers three times more than what Spotify offers to artists.
Amazon Music is also a cost-effective option as it comes with Prime subscription. It has an entirely ad-free experience, and you can control playback with Alexa as well. Additionally, there’s no limit on skipping, and you can download your favourite songs without any limitations.
But users frequently scrutinise the UI design of Amazon Music. It’s similar to that of the Amazon e-commerce app and is outdated according to many. However, it has more than 60 million songs, offers Alexa voice integration, and personalised song recommendations – making it one of the best Spotify alternatives out there.
Launched back in 2002, Pandora is one of the oldest players in the music streaming industry. The platform currently has more than 80 million monthly active users. Its recommendation system is loved by many and lists music libraries in the form of radio stations.
Just like Spotify, Pandora lets you use the app for free. But there will be ads in between songs along with limitations on your song skipping ability. The monthly subscription costs just US$3.99 per month and comes with a 30-day free trial. You’ll get access to higher quality audio (when compared to the free plan), unlimited skips and replays, and ad-free listening experience.
Unfortunately, Pandora is available only in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
YouTube Music can be your go-to Spotify alternative if you like songs of highly diverse nature. Its song recommendation system is the best in the industry, and suggestions are based on numerous parameters such as location, interest, and time of the day.
On YouTube Music, you can also access a hotlist of all the trending songs. However, if you want to listen to music without any interruptions or download your favourite songs, you’ll have to subscribe to YouTube Music Premium – which will cost you US$12.99 per month.
Deezer currently has around 14 million monthly active users – quite a small number when compared to Spotify. But it offers a collection of more than 56 million licensed tracks, podcasts and over 30,000 radio channels.
Deezer has a feature called Flow that offers non-stop songs based on your interests – which is also a great way to explore new artists. With the paid plan, Deezer offers a Hi-Fi streaming option with 16-bit FLAC quality.
Deezer has a free version, but you’ll be interrupted with ads. If you want to remove ads, enable offline listening, and get access to unlimited skips and shuffles, go for the premium option that will cost you between US$5.99 and US$9.99 per month.
Spotify Users in the World
- As of March 2020, there are 635.13 million online music streaming platform users in China.
- In India, the music streaming market generated approximately 10 billion Indian rupees from advertising alone. The figures are expected to hit 20 billion Indian rupees by 2024.
- The most-streamed international artist in India is Post Malone, followed by BTS and Taylor Swift.
- During Diwali, India’s most prominent religious celebration, the number of plays increased by nearly 4,400%.
- India is in the top 22% of K-Pop listening in the global market.
- Arijit Singh, Tanishk Bagchi, Neha Kakkar, Pritam, and BTS are most-streamed artists of 2020 in India.
- The Radar India playlist experienced a 500% growth in the number of followers in 2020.
- Kabir Singh, Love Aaj Kal, Map Of The Soul: 7, Broken Strings, and Changes were the most-streamed albums of 2020.
- In India, BTS broke the record for the most-streamed song in a week twice in 2020. First for Dynamite (2.42 million plays) in August and then for Life Goes On (2.75 million plays) in November.
- In India, the majority of Spotify users belong to the 18-24 age group.
- Spotify acquired two million users within just two months of its release in India.
- Europe has the highest number of users than any other region in the world, with more than 95 million monthly active users.
- In the UK, Drake, Juice WRLD, Eminem, Ed Sheeran, and The Weeknd are the most-streamed artists of 2020.
- Blinding Lights by The Weeknd is the most-streamed song in the UK, followed by Roses (Remix) by SAINt JHN, and Rockstar by DaBaby.
- Divinely Uninspired is the most-streamed album in the United Kingdom, followed by Fine Line, and Shoot For The Stars.
- In 2017, Spotify overtook BBC Radio 1 and became the most-listened-to radio station in the UK.
- In the United Kingdom, there are more than seven million monthly active Android Spotify users.
- In the UK, there are more than four million monthly active iPhone Spotify users.
- In the first week of October 2020, Mood (feat. iann dior) was the most streamed weekly track.
North and South America
- 65.6 million internet users of any age in the US use Spotify at least once a month.
- Spotify users in the US spend nearly 2.5 hours on the app per visit.
- In the United States, Spotify is the most popular online music streaming app among young people aged between 12 and 34.
- North America has the highest number of desktop Spotify listeners.
- In the United States, the most-streamed weekly track on Spotify is Willow by Taylor Swift. In the third week of December 2020, it was streamed 13.28 million times.
- In the US, the music streaming industry generated around US$4.68 billion in the first half of 2020 alone.
- In the first half of 2020, there were 72.1 million paid music streaming subscribers.
- Over 12.7 million Australians use music streaming services – which is actually more than half of the entire population.
- More than 8 million Australians use Spotify.
- YouTube Music is the biggest competitor for Spotify in Australia. It currently has more than 5.5 million Australian users.
- Apple Music and SoundCloud are the third and fourth-largest music streaming platforms in Australia.
- Nearly 1.6 million Australians download podcasts every month.
- On average, 18 to 24-year-old Australians listen to Spotify and Apple Music for 45 minutes each day.
- A typical Australian streamer is a woman under 35 years of age, and most likely committed to a full-time white-collar job. She’s also more likely to be a “big spender” and a “Metrotech” (someone who is socially aware, career-focused, and willing to spend big).
- A typical Australian streamer is also less likely to consume traditional media such as newspapers or magazines.
Ever since its launch back in 2008, Spotify has attracted numerous controversies, especially regarding artist compensation. Artists claim that the remuneration they get for publishing their tracks is meagre and is lower than what YouTube offers.
Instead of paying the artist a price per song or album, Spotify follows a royalty program. According to this program, the artist is paid based on their market share – meaning, artists are paid based on the number of streams their songs receive with respect to the total songs streamed on Spotify.
Spotify was also heavily scrutinised for following a freemium model and allowing users to listen to music for almost free. Following such a monetisation model also led to many albums being delayed or withdrawn from the service.
But when you look from a different perspective, the freemium model offered by Spotify is a game-changer and dramatically keeps users away from piracy. In that sense, Spotify is doing more good to the music industry to annihilate pirated content more than any other streaming service.
Spotify was also scrutinised for numerous security breaches. In March of 2009, Spotify notified users that a previously discovered and fixed breach of December 2008 was more severe than assessed earlier.
Information such as email address, gender, birth date, billing receipt details, and postal code was exposed. Spotify advised users to reset their passwords, especially if they had the habit of using the same password for multiple websites.
In March of 2011, Spotify temporarily suspended display ads on its computer software as many users reported that a malicious advertisement infected their computers. Again in 2014, Spotify proclaimed that it had been hacked. But this time, only a single user’s information was accessed.
Along with numerous security breaches, Spotify was also heavily scrutinised for its “pay for play” practice. According to Billboard magazine, Spotify has a “pay for play” practice by which labels can pay for tracks to be placed on popular playlists.
The price of this practice was calculated based on the popularity of the playlist. Rates could range anywhere from US$2,000 to US$10,000. Although Spotify didn’t react to this claim, in June of 2018, the allegations reappeared with the release of Drake’s album Scorpion.
Many users claimed that Scorpion’s songs were included in numerous playlists, even though they were unrelated to the genre, for example, in playlists having genres such as ambient music and gospel.
Spotify was also heavily criticised for its CEO’s remark that artists must publish more to earn more and not desire higher payout rates. To give you a rough idea of how much artists generally make, the Rolling Stones got paid just €8 for 90,000 plays.
Recently, Spotify ran into more controversies when it announced a feature that would give artists an algorithmic boost, but with a catch – the artist has to take a cut in the royalties. The feature enraged many content creators as the royalty rates were already a meagre figure.
Spotify is also one of the few online music streaming platforms that don’t offer a feature to filter explicit content. In 2018, Spotify added an explicit filter for lyrics, but there’s no such feature for filtering explicit album art.
In the United States, the music streaming industry generated around US$4.68 billion in the first half of 2020 alone. With the internet becoming increasingly cheaper and more number of music artists rising, the streaming industry is booming, unlike before and will soon fully replace offline listening.
It’s only a matter of time until we get access to audio devices with inbuilt streaming apps like Spotify. Since Spotify’s subscription costs only a few bucks and gives access to virtually any song you could think of, the number of premium subscribers will probably overhaul the number of ad-supported users pretty soon.