It didn’t take long for YouTube to claim another milestone for its music services, although its significant isn’t quite so clear. The Google-owned brand said it had racked up a combined 50 million YouTube Premium and Music subscribers roughly a year and a half after reaching the 20 million mark. It’s also the “fastest growing” music subscription service, according to YouTube’s music chief Lyor Cohen.
Certain markets were stronger than others. Cohen touted “impressive growth” in Brazil, India, Japan, Russia and South Korea. He didn’t provide numbers for those countries or the US.
That figure still makes YouTube smaller than Spotify, which claimed 165 million Premium subscribers as of June 2021. Apple hasn’t divulged its Music subscriber numbers since June 2019, when it had 60 million, while Amazon last touted 55 million Music customers (only some of them paying for Unlimited) in January 2020. Still, these figures in isolation would suggest YouTube is quickly becoming a major force in music streaming.
There are concerns about the claims, though. YouTube didn’t indicate how many were Music or Premium subscribers, or how they used it. While you get YouTube Music with a Premium subscription, that doesn’t mean you’re using Premium for music — you might just want to get rid of ads and download videos. YouTube’s tally also includes people using free trials, so the number of paying customers is likely lower. Samsung offers two to four months of free YouTube Premium access with new phones, for instance, but many of those users will drop Premium after the trial is over.
The data still hints competition in the music streaming world is heating up, with relatively small outfits like YouTube and Amazon Music posing more of a threat to incumbents like Spotify and Apple. However, it could take a long while before YouTube is large enough to make the heavyweights nervous.
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