Global online streaming music revenue crossed US$1b mark in 1H2019

Revenue from global online music streaming services crossed the US$1 billion mark in the first half of 2019, the technology analyst firm Counterpoint Research claims, adding that this trend is bound to continue.

The figures reflected growth of 18% year-on-year, with monthly active users increasing 21% year-on-year in the first half of 2019.

Research analyst Abhilash Kumar said in a statement: “Online music streaming revenues have grown at an impressive 32% CAGR during 2016-18, which reflects the increased demand for such services by users.

“Overall, subscriptions account for more than 80% of industry revenue, while the remainder comes from advertisements and partnerships with brands and telcos.

“We believe the market still has not peaked and will continue to grow at a healthy rate of more than 20% for at least a couple of quarters.”

Spotify led the way both in revenue and paid subscriptions, taking a 31% share of the former and a 35% share of the latter.

Apple was close behind (25% and 20% respectively), while Tencent Music registered the highest share of global monthly active users (31%) through its subsidiaries QQ Music, Kuwo and Kugou. More than nine on 10 Tencent users consume only free content.

Kumar said marketing campaigns, expansion into emerging markets, partnerships with peers of different industries and a focus on podcasts had helped Spotify take the top spot.

“Apple is focusing a lot on its services revenue and sees a lot of potential in its music streaming service,” he added.

“Subscription price cuts, partnerships with industry peers, and improvements to the in-app experience have helped Apple.

“Tencent Music benefits from its social media platform and easy as well as free availability to get a huge user base.”

Counterpoint said music streaming services were looking to increase paid subscriptions by using trials and promotions. Apple Music had increased its paid subscriptions by 55% year-on-year in the first half of 2019, while Google Music and YouTube Music combined had grown by 56%. The Russian service, Yandex Music, had grown by 89% but from a much smaller base.

Counterpoint senior analyst Hanish Bhatia said the industry still faced licensing and copyright challenges.

“Streaming giants, such as Spotify, Apple, and YouTube, have a significant role to play to harmonise the same,” he added. “This will be especially important when expanding into emerging markets, where monetisation remains a major challenge.”

Chart: courtesy Counterpoint Research

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