Music streaming

The most popular music streaming platform is not Spotify

When asked to think of the best music streaming services, Spotify and Apple Music are probably the first two that come to mind. They could be followed by Pandora, Deezer and Amazon Prime Music. Even though these all enjoy healthy subscriber bases, none of them are the biggest or most popular music streaming service – not by far.

YouTube and its two billion monthly active users crush all the competition in terms of number and popularity. How YouTube, the video streaming service, outclasses the mighty Spotify when it comes to music? We will tell you.

Run Spotify

Spotify menu on a smartphone on a bed of rocks

Founded in 2006 and launched in 2008, Spotify has achieved critical acclaim around the world. Home to 60 million tracks, four billion playlists and 1.9 million podcasts, Spotify is one of the top destinations for music and other audio content.

The popular music streaming service saw its first real growth when it launched in the UK in 2009 and then in the US in 2011. Spotify reached its first million paying subscribers across Europe in March 2011 He doubled that number to two million in September. of the same year. By August 2012, Spotify’s total user base had grown to 15 million active users, with around four million paying subscribers. The company quickly reached 20 million listeners worldwide and five million paying users – including one million in the United States – by December 2012.

See also: 15 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Spotify Premium Account

Spotify’s numbers continued to grow by leaps and bounds. In May 2014, it reported a total customer base of 40 million, including 10 million paying customers. The meteoric rise continued the following year as well, with 75 million total users, 20 million of them paying. Spotify reached 100 million total listeners and 40 million paying subscribers by mid-2016.

Today, Spotify has 345 million monthly customers, 155 million of which pay for one of Spotify’s premium plans. The service is available in 178 markets around the world. To put that into perspective, the world’s number two dedicated music service, Apple Music, had around 72 million subscribers in June 2020, reports Statista.

Spotify’s millions can’t be compared to YouTube’s billions

spotify vs youtube music cloud locker

If Spotify’s numbers are impressive, YouTube’s numbers are staggering. The Spotify vs YouTube race isn’t even close. There is, however, a small caveat to which we will return later.

Here’s what you need to know. If you don’t count children’s songs as “music videos,” then seven of the top 10 YouTube videos of all time are music videos. Additionally, 17 of the Top 20, 27 of the Top 30, and 37 of the Top 40 are also music videos. In fact, almost all of the top 100 YouTube videos of all time are music videos (not chat content). This gives you a really good idea of ​​why people use YouTube. Great artists no longer release their latest tracks on MTV. No, that honor is reserved for YouTube. “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi, for example, has 7,087,915,396 views. There are plenty of other names in the all-time top 10 that you might recognize. These include Ed Sheeran, Wiz Khalifa, Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars, Psy, Justin Bieber and Maroon 5.

Related: Best music streaming apps for Android

YouTube has a distinct advantage: it’s a top destination on the Internet worldwide. In fact, YouTube is the second ranked website on Earth. It has the second largest search engine on the web and has over 30 million daily active users. They watch about a billion videos a day. Additionally, YouTube accounts for 37% of all internet traffic and users watch up to 40 minutes via mobile every day.

Specifically, YouTube is natively included on the vast majority of Android phones sold globally. For 2020, IDC predicted Android phone shipments to reach 1.055 billion. Spotify, for comparison, comes on relatively few phones out of the box. This gives YouTube a leg up on the competition. Google’s video platform is available in over 80 languages ​​in over 100 countries.

YouTube Music is another story

YouTube Premium Music logo in the app

Technically, YouTube is not a music streaming service. The website’s main product is video, although people surely use YouTube as a de facto music service. How can they not?

YouTube Music – a standalone music streaming service from YouTube – exists with its own online destination, app and user base. The service first appeared in November 2015. Earlier this year, it supplanted Play Music as Google’s primary/sole music streaming service. Like Spotify and Apple Music, YouTube Music is available in both free and paid tiers. It is available in around 95 countries around the world.

Still, YouTube Music’s numbers pale in comparison to other music services, at least for now. YouTube Music’s paid subscribers total around 30 million, according to Google’s most recent data from October 2020. However, this is a significant increase from its 20 million in 2019. This means that the transition from Google Music to YouTube Music brought YouTube Music 10 million new users in a rapid manner.

More reading: YouTube Music vs Spotify: Can Google even compete?

Obviously, YouTube Music is a fledgling service that largely follows Spotify and Apple Music. YouTube proper, however, is so far ahead of any other service that despite its emphasis on video, it will remain the number one destination for music for the foreseeable future.


This is the twelfth article in our “Did You Know” series. In this document, we dive into the history books of Android and consumer technology to uncover important and interesting facts or events that have been forgotten over time. What do you want to see us cover next? Let us know in the comments and check out our previous entries in the series below.


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