Streaming music subscribers worldwide 2015-2018

In 2018, the number of music streaming subscribers worldwide amounted to 278 million, up from 198.6 million in the previous year. Paid music streaming subscriptions have become the norm for many music fans, and the market has seen consistently impressive increases in subscriber numbers over the last few years. Recent forecasts show however that whilst both subscriber numbers and revenue are expected to continue to rise, growth will slow down in the near future. Changes can already be seen from 2016 onwards. Year-on-year music streaming revenue growth was 65.1 percent worldwide, but fell by more than 20 percent in 2017 and was just 34 percent a year later.

It is expected that the U.S. and the UK will continue to be the biggest streaming markets in years to come, but reports also show that Brazil, India, China, and MENA countries will catch up over the next decade and rank among the top global markets by 2026. Other changes to the market include a growing focus on podcasts, which have more potential than many music buffs may realize.

Music streaming and podcasts

Several companies have reaped the benefits of consumers’ growing interest in on-the-go digital music consumption, especially market leader Spotify, which made its first profit in early 2019. Spotify has announced plans to spend hundreds of millions on podcasting, hoping to capitalize on the potential podcasts have to generate ad revenue and plotting to invest in exclusive content so podcasts fans go to Spotify first.

But it is not only the companies offering digital music services who are making money from music streaming: consumers are, too (and some more than others). Whilst recording artists battle for streams to secure as many royalty payments as possible, the lesser-known beneficiaries of music streaming services are in fact podcast curators.

A 2019 report showed that podcast curators with an average audience of 20 thousand listeners per weekly podcast would need just 80 thousand streams per month to generate an income of around 6,500 U.S. dollars. Meanwhile, major record label artists would need over seven million streams of their content to earn the same amount.

Number of music streaming subscribers worldwide from 2015 to 2018

Number of subscribers in millions
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Sources

Release date

March 2019

Region

Worldwide

Survey time period

2015 to 2018

Supplementary notes

Figures for years prior to 2018 come from previous reports.

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Statistics on "Music streaming worldwide"

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