Digital audio streaming has taken off in a big way in the past ten years. According to Statista’s Digital Music Outlook, the music streaming market size increased to US$30.33 billion in 2022, reaching a total of 776.2 million users.
The pandemic years saw particular growth in the podcast industry, as people forced to stay home searched out entertainment, driving up listenership and advertiser investment. According to Megaphone, a podcast technology company owned by Spotify, where 2021 was a story of “content explosion”, 2022 has been one of “diversification”, as the most significant jumps in podcast downloads came from markets newer to the medium, such as Spain (+298 percent), Italy (+244 percent), and France (+375 percent), while the highest growth in unique listeners in terms of age groups was the 13-17 year olds (+49 percent) and the 55-64 year olds (+45 percent).
As our chart shows, a handful of companies are leading the way in this era of digital audio content - both music and podcasts are grouped together here. Data from Statista’s Global Consumer Survey shows that in the United States, Amazon Music currently reigns king, where 45 percent of respondents that had purchased music streaming services in the past 12 months said they had used it. Spotify, originally a startup from Sweden, follows in second place with 40 percent usership, while in the United Kingdom, this trend is vice versa. Apple Music and YouTube music are also fairly popular options in both countries, while the lower ranking platforms start to diverge more; in the UK, SoundCloud (10 percent), Deezer (10 percent) and eMusic (6 percent) rank in 6th-8th place, while in the U.S., these positions are filled by iTunes (24 percent), iHeartRadio (18 percent) and Sirius XM (14 percent).
Looking to the future, Statista’s analysts explain: “The disruptive impact of music streaming services such as Spotify or Apple Music has not only won the fight against illegal distribution, but also broken down all barriers and made access to all kinds of music as easy as ever. In order to stand out, however, many service providers are now starting to counteract this trend by focusing on exclusivity, e.g., pre-releasing new music or offering unique content such as concerts or podcasts.”
They add that while the market can expect to see some stagnation - especially on subscription services - as consumers try to lower their personal expenses due to the current state of the economy, the industry will likely still see continued growth overall.