Music Business

The #1 Music Streaming Service in the U.S. may surprise you…

You may assume that Spotify rules the streaming world, but you would be wrong. Keep reading to find out who really reigns as the most-used music service in the country.

by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

When it comes to a streaming music service, everyone knows that Spotify has the most paid users, but does it have the most users? Surprisingly no, not by a long shot. When it comes to both combined paid and free music consumers in the U.S., YouTube comes out on top by a wide margin, as seen by the ranking put together by Activate Consulting.

RankMusic Service% of U.S. Music Listeners Who Use Monthly
#2TAmazon Music35%
#6Apple Music19%

Just The Facts

Just to be clear,  “Music listeners” are defined as adults aged 18+ who spend any time listening to music. 88% of music listeners use a streaming music service at least once per month, and most listeners are now more likely to use a smartphone or tablet to listen to music than any other device. 

Fully 1/3rd of all listeners are consuming their music on the free tier. What’s more, these listeners on free tiers are older, less affluent, and less likely to use mobile devices for music. 

On the other hand, a full 40% of listeners subscribe to 3 or more streaming services, while only 24% subscribe to just one!


What’s especially interesting here is the Spotify and Amazon Music are tied for second place with 35%. Not many think of Amazon as being a music powerhouse, viewing the streaming service as only an afterthought. That might be true but thanks to its Amazon Prime program, it has surpassed both Pandora and Apple Music.

Another surprise is that SoundCloud comes in at #8 with 10%. Most of us think of the platform as mainly for creators, but it has morphed from a tool to a powerful distribution service.

There are signs that streaming music growth is plateauing, and while that may be true, it will continue to grow for some time as consumers can’t seem to get enough of their streaming service.

Bobby Owsinski is a producer/engineer, author and coach. He has authored 24 books on recording, music, the music business and social media.

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