Spotify gaining in the battle for listeners: study

According to the MTM's newest report, the streamer is making big gains, and almost half of users opt for the ad free option.

The latest data from the Media Technology Monitor (MTM) shows that although YouTube remains the most popular way for people to listen to music online, Spotify is making gains — and it’s doing so quickly.

The MTM surveyed 4,000 Anglophone Canadians in a mixed-method (online and phone) questionnaire to determine what form of music streaming they prefer. The study took place in the spring of 2017.

More than one-third of Canadians surveyed (32%) use music streaming services (although the MTM counts YouTube, which serves the primary purpose of a video streamer, as a music service). That number has shown consistent growth over the years, rising up from 27% in the last 12 months.

The ad-supported YouTube may be the most ubiquitous of all the services — 85% of those surveyed who use streaming services have used YouTube in the past month, which puts it at more than double its next-highest competitor, Spotify (42%). YouTube’s penetration as a music source has stayed flat over the last year, whereas Spotify has made major gains from 12 months ago, when it was used by 29% of music streamers. It’s gained even more than Apple Music (currently at 22% and up from 18% in the last year), which is a newer service.

Spotify and Apple Music boast very similar offerings, with nearly identical libraries and features. However, the main difference between Spotify and Apple Music lies in their so-called freemium system. While Apple Music offers a three-month free trial, Spotify offers a permanently free ad supported tier with more limited controls, as well as a monthly paid option. Spotify does not disclose how many subscribers (paid or unpaid) it has specific to Canada, however, the MTM’s study found that 47% of the Spotify listeners it surveyed paid for music services.

Google Play has also stayed stable from year-to-year at 23%. SoundCloud has decreased to 16% from 20%.

Photo by Ilya Ilyukhin, courtesy of Unsplash