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Spotify still market-leader in premium streaming, though Chinese services scoring impressive growth

By | Published on Thursday 8 December 2022


Entertainment industry consultancy MIDiA has published its annual report on music subscriber market shares, which estimates premium subscriber numbers for music streaming services around the world.

In an accompanying blog post, MD Mark Mulligan writes: “As the world edges towards a recession, the music streaming market continues to stand strong. Despite indications of slowdown in some markets, the global music subscriber market remains buoyant. Growth, though, is uneven, with a number of leading streaming services outpacing the rest, especially the Chinese ones, which are now setting the global pace”.

In the same way that many home entertainment services actually benefited from the lockdowns during the COVID pandemic, the same could be true of a recession, where people spend less money on going out. “Home entertainment tends to perform well during recessions”, Mulligan notes, “not least because people are inclined to cut down on leisure spend (eating out, bars, clubs, etc) and thus spend more time at home”.

“In previous recessions lipstick sales boomed, reflecting their role as an affordable luxury that consumers turn to when they can no longer afford the more expensive luxuries”, he adds. “Music subscriptions have a good chance of playing a similar role in the coming recession”.

Stressing again that, in terms of premium growth, the Chinese streaming services are doing particularly well, Mulligan writes: “The evolution of the global music subscriber market is beginning to fork between the leading Western digital service providers and those in Asia – China especially so. Nearly all the leading DSPs continue to experience strong subscriber growth, but none more so than Chinese DSPs Tencent Music Entertainment and NetEase Cloud Music”.

In terms of overall market share, Spotify is still by far the market leader, although – as has been the trend in recent years – that lead is slowly declining. MIDiA reckons that its market share in the second quarter of 2022 was 30.5%, down from around 31% in 2021. Though a lot of the current decline in Spotify’s dominance is because of growth in the Chinese market, where it doesn’t operate.

That growth in China also means that the various services run there by Tencent together are now the third biggest player in terms of market share. So, after Spotify, it goes Apple Music (13.7%), Tencent (13.4%), Amazon Music (13.3%) and YouTube Music (8.9%).

You can buy the new MIDiA report here and read Mulligan’s blog post here.