As wifi and unlimited cellular data become more pervasive, so too has streaming music.  Gone are the days of paying a dollar per song and then trying to manage device storage by pulling them down from and adding them back to the cloud.  Now, listeners have unlimited access to any music they want to hear.  Spotify has dominated the market, but can it stay at the top of the charts?  Today’s Insight Flash tries to answer that question by looking at overall streaming music trends in the US and UK, Spotify paid customer loyalty versus competing brands, and global listener trends.

Audio Streaming has been growing more quickly in the UK than in the US since the beginning of 2019.  Although spend growth slowed from around 30% at the beginning of 2019 to about 15% at the end of the year, it has re-accelerated starting in Spring 2020 to between 20-25% in Fall and Winter of 2020, peaking back to 30% y/y in March 2021.  US rates have followed a similar pattern, but at more subdued levels – October 2020 was the first time Audio Streaming spend growth hit double-digits since February 2019.  March’s rebound was only 12%, less than half the growth rate of the UK rebound.

Within the US, Spotify dominates other streaming services when it comes to customer loyalty.  Among those who first paid for the service in March 2020, 90% paid for a subscription one month later, 80% were still subscribed six months later, and 73% were still subscribed a year later.  That percentage was higher than what the second-highest loyalty service, Pandora, was able to retain even a month after the first payment (69%)

US Customer Loyalty

Note: Among those who made a purchase at brand in March 2020, % making an additional purchase in subsequent months

Although sometimes seen as an outlet for fans to find small, independent artists, Spotify has recently seen more growth among the most popular musicians.  The number of artists with more than one million listeners has grown by almost two-thirds since May 2019.  In the meantime, the number of artists with more than one hundred thousand listeners has only grown by about half and the number of artists with more than ten thousand listeners has only grown by about two-fifths.

Artist Popularity