The availability of exclusive contents like podcasts and originals that attracted people towards the platform and eventually made them subscribers, promotional activities like price cuts in subscriptions in emerging markets, and bundled offers from telcos together helped global online music streaming subscriptions grew 32 per cent year-on-year (YoY), reaching a total of 358 million subscriptions in CY 2019.
According to Counterpoint Research, online music streaming subscriptions will grow over 25 per cent YoY to exceed 450 million subscriptions by the end of 2020.
Sweden-based streaming service Spotify topped CY 2019, grabbing a 31 per cent share of the total revenue and a 35 per cent share of the total paid subscriptions. And after the latest update to Spotify app, you can now ask Siri to play music through Spotify.
Spotify was followed by Apple Music, which had a 24 per cent share of total revenues in the industry and a 19 per cent share of the total paid subscriptions. Apple Music subscription base grew 36 per cent YoY in CY 2019. Amazon Music subscriptions reached a 15 per cent share in 2019 compared to 10 per cent in 2018.
According to Counterpoint Research Analyst, Abhilash Kumar, music streaming platforms took a two-step approach to gain subscribers. They first allowed users to register themselves as free by means of excellent advertising campaigns and then offered them attractive offers to convert them into paying subscribers.
Paid subscriptions grew 32 per cent YoY compared to 23 per cent YoY growth of total MAUs. Thanks to the promotional activities like free Spotify Premium for three months, price cuts, customised campaigns, and a focus on exclusive content helped Spotify maintain the top spot.
The reports also revealed that brands including Amazon, Apple, and Google are now focusing more on music streaming and have sufficient cash at their disposal to give stiff competition to Spotify. Apple is making improvements in its Music app, such as night mode and curated playlists to target a group. Similarly, Amazon Music has been trying lossless music and is creating its own niche where it competes with Tidal.
And while global players are at the top of the pack, regional players stand strong in their respective regions, primarily because of regional exposure and high focus on local content. Gaana continues to be the top player in the Indian market. Yandex Music is leading in Russia. Similarly, Anghami leads the Arab world. In China, Tencent Music Group leads, thanks to the help of its apps QQ Music, Kugou, and Kuwo.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has also impacted the OTT industry. Kumar said, ‘during this outbreak, audio OTT consumption has switched from music streaming to the radio. People in highly affected areas are worried about the outbreak and are therefore continuously tuned to news on TV/radio for updates. The traction of news channels and podcasts saw an upswing while that for music streaming dropped.’