Streaming media subscribers in developed markets are almost saturated, and YouTube Music has become the new favorite of young people

The global streaming media market is growing rapidly, with the number of subscribers growing but ARPU falling.

Recently, MRC Data and Billboard jointly released the “2021 Mid-year Report”, which elaborated on the latest global music development and changes in the first half of July 1st, and pointed out the strong growth of global music streaming; and MIDiA also released the “2021 No. The report “Global Music Streaming Media Subscribers Market Share in the First Quarter” provides a detailed analysis of global subscribers.

After nearly 16 months of stagnation caused by the epidemic, the music industry has finally ushered in a recovery, and consumers have begun to return to their favorite music activities. The record-breaking concert ticket sales of Bad Bunny, Garth Brooks, Travis Scott and others all illustrate the huge demand for music in the market.

According to PwC ‘s forecast, in the next five years, driven by the rapid recovery of live performances and the rapid growth of digital streaming media, the compound annual growth rate of the entire music industry is expected to remain around 12.8%.

Changes in global music development

Statistics from MRC Data show that from January 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021, the global audio streaming media playback volume reached 1.3 trillion, an increase of 27.5% year-on-year, showing a rapid increase. Among them, the US music streaming media (including audio and video formats) played 555.3 billion in the first half of 2021, a year-on-year increase of 10.8%.

Despite the rapid growth of streaming media, the global sales of digital music decreased by 12.5% ​​year-on-year to US$191 million. This shows that streaming media users have reduced their listening to new songs and are more inclined to listen to the songs in the existing music library.

In addition, in the first half of 2021, the sales of vinyl records in the United States increased by 108.2% year-on-year, reaching 19.2 million. 2020 is already the 15th consecutive year of growth for vinyl records. In the first half of 2021, the sales of vinyl records surpassed the sales of CD records for the first time (18.9 million CD records).

Streaming media subscribers in developed markets are almost saturated, and YouTube Music has become the new favorite of young people


This has led many musicians to release vinyl versions of their albums. Ariana Grande launched her own album “Positions” on the streaming platform in October 2020. The vinyl version of the album was only released in April this year, but it is still highly sought after, selling 32,000 records in just one week.

The US market as a reference, the music industry appear for a few words of streaming media and real vinyl album parallel trends.

Global streaming media market

In the context of the rapid development of music streaming media, MIDiA analyzed the streaming media market. According to its statistics, music streaming media added 100 million subscribers in 2020, and this data will only add 83 million subscribers in 2019. . In the first quarter of 2021, 19.5 million new subscribers were added, bringing the total to 487 million.

However, subscription revenue has not been able to keep up with the rapid growth-ARPU in 2020 has fallen by 9%. The growth rate of subscription revenue is not satisfactory, which has affected the revenue prospects of the global music streaming media market. But global music subscription users are growing faster than ever before, balancing this negative trend.

Streaming media subscribers in developed markets are almost saturated, and YouTube Music has become the new favorite of young people

△2021Q1 global music streaming media platform subscriber market share (data source: MIDiA)

Focusing on streaming media platforms, Spotify still maintains a dominant global position. From the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021, its subscribers increased by 27 million, which is more than any other platform. However, due to the decline in growth rate, Spotify’s global market share fell by two percentage points year-on-year to 32%, squeezed by competitors.

YouTube Music is the fastest-growing music streaming platform for subscribers in 2020, with an increase of 60%; followed by Tencent (TME), with an increase of 40%; Amazon continues to maintain its steady trend, with an increase of 27%; Apple only An increase of 12%.

In the past few years, Google ’s YouTube Music has always been a leader in the music subscription user market and has aroused resonance among young users in many emerging markets and around the world. Early signs indicate that YouTube Music is becoming the representative of Generation Z, just as Spotify represented the millennial generation 5 years ago.

According to MIDiA’s forecast, by the end of 2021, global music subscription users will exceed 500 million, and the developed markets are close to saturation. The industry focus has shifted to the next market with 1 billion potential.

Emerging markets are now at the core of the music subscription user market. Latin America, the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world account for 60% of all new subscription users in 2020. Of course, this is also a key reason for the decline in global ARPU. However, some emerging markets have a huge user base.

In addition to TME’s 61 million new users, NetEase Cloud Music added 18 million new users in the first quarter of 2020, and Russia’s Yandex has 8 million new users.

The growth of streaming media is also increasingly dependent on the development of emerging markets. For international streaming media platforms, understanding local habits and values ​​and providing localized services and content can help them better cater to different emerging markets. The global music streaming market is evolving into a series of regional economies with local characteristics.


《Global music subscriber market shares Q1 2021》

《MRC Data Midyear Report U.S. 2021》

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