Spotify for 10 years: pioneering the streaming revolution

The success of streaming services is allowing the music market to grow again after years of decline. The streaming market leader Spotify , which went online ten years ago, played a decisive role in this .

Hear exactly the song you want anytime, anywhere? It used to be unimaginable. Teens once spent countless hours in record stores looking for new albums. If a favorite song came on the radio, it was frantically recorded on cassette. And the local pub was often selected for the best jukebox. But then came the Internet, which completely changed the music industry.

From piracy to streaming

It was only with the invention of the MP3 format in the 1990s that all music ever recorded could end up on the Internet – as a pirated copy by the once overpowering record companies. The Napster music exchange became a symbol of the new era. When the industry’s business model seemed to evaporate, Apple came to the rescue: the iPod player and iTunes downloads for 99 cents per song convinced consumers to pay for music again. Finally, legal purchases were as convenient as pirated copies were before. The next step was streaming, in which the titles do not even have to be saved on the device, but can be played directly from the network. And the success of this model is inextricably linked to the Spotify name.

The startup from Sweden, which went online in several European countries on October 7, 2008 after a deal with the music companies, was by no means the first streaming service. Platforms such as Rhapsody or Napster, reborn as a legal offer, have been trying to establish the model for years. The idea of ​​gaining access to catalogs of millions of songs for a monthly fee seemed attractive, but was hampered by problems with implementation.

The right offer at the right time

Spotify, however, was launched at exactly the right time: Apple’s iPhone paved the way for the smartphone as the ubiquitous mobile computer – and the expansion of the mobile Internet provided a constant connection. Nevertheless, the Swedish company had to overcome a lot of resistance.

A central point of contention was that founder Daniel Ek believed in a so-called “Fremium” model: On the one hand, Spotify can be used free of charge, even if you have to accept commercial breaks and restrictions on skipping songs. But there is also a payment option. Ek’s thesis: With a free model, you can first get users onto the platform and eventually convince them to pay for a subscription. The music industry, plagued by the trauma of rampant online piracy, was initially unsure of this approach.

Perseverance pays off

Because the concept also meant that artists and music companies had to be patient and have to be content with meager proceeds from the free version of Spotify for years. Musicians like Talking Heads frontman David Byrne or Thom Yorke from Radiohead complained about measly remuneration for millions of views, Taylor Swift temporarily withdrew her music from Spotify in a media-effective manner.

In the long run, however, Ek should be right: Spotify now has 83 million paying subscribers with a total of 180 million users. This makes the Swedish service the clear number one in the streaming business – ahead of Apple, which, thanks to its iPhone market share, has more than 50 million subscription customers even without a free version. Thanks to the success of streaming services, consumer spending on music is also growing again after a long dry spell.

Every second internet user streams music today

In Germany, according to a recent study by the IT association Bitkom, every second Internet user is currently streaming music, and among 14 to 29 year olds it is even two thirds. Five years ago, on the other hand, music streaming was a marginal phenomenon in this country. At that time, only one in ten internet users used the corresponding offers.

Accordingly, it took a long time in Germany for the market to adapt. It was only this summer that streaming made for the first time more money than selling CDs. According to the figures from the Federal Association of the Music Industry, services such as Spotify, Apple Music or Tidal recorded an increase of 35.2 percent to 348 million euros in sales in the first half of 2018. Streaming thus had a market share of 47.8 percent. At the same time, the CD business collapsed by 24.5 percent to 250 million euros. In Sweden, home of the market leader Spotify, streaming has been the top-selling area since 2012, and in North America since 2015.

German artists initially skeptical

Many German artists also refused for years to offer their music on the streaming platforms. Little by little, artists like Die Toten Hosen or Herbert Grönemeyer realized that they also had to rely on these digital channels. As one of the last German bands, Die Ärzte reported themselves: “In order to guarantee a worldwide, all-day supply of real Die-Ärzte music in the future, we will also be offering all non-prohibited Die-Ärzte albums for the Stream to. “

But they too still rely on the good old sound carriers: “Since the beauty and feel of our works is still important to us, it will of course continue to be CDs and vinyl records (these are those big, heavy, round, black discs with the strange ornamental patterns on both sides). ”  dpa

Apple is probably burying iTunes today

Apple seems to be giving up its aging media management software iTunes in its current form: With macOS 10.15 it is to be broken down into its individual parts in the form of various apps.

Many are at war with the iTunes media management system – it is confusing, overloaded and sluggish. As developer and iOS specialist Steve Troughton-Smith pointed out on Twitter  and was mentioned again in May by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman  , Apple should put an end to its ancient software with macOS 10.15. A few hours before the official announcement, Apple also saw the first clear indications.

iTunes is to be broken down into individual apps with macOS 10.15

iTunes is the main application on Mac for buying music, renting movies and series, or listening to podcasts. It is also used to create local backups for iOS devices. Until September 2017, you could also use it to purchase iOS apps – with iTunes 12.7 , however, Apple had completely removed the function from macOS.

With macOS 10.15, Apple’s platforms could move closer together. (Image: Apple)

With macOS 10.15, iTunes dismantling is apparently continued consistently, it seems. According to Troughton-Smith and Gurman, applications such as Apple Music and podcasts as well as a TV app should land as separate apps on the desktop. Without iTunes on the Mac, users should be able to manage their Apple gadgets via the music app in the future, according to Gurman.

Further information on iTunes off directly from Apple

Gurmans and Troughton-Smiths information about the end of iTunes have been underpinned by changes in various social media and marketing channels Apple has been doing since the weekend, as reported on Reddit . The iTunes Facebook page lately lacks any content – all videos, photos and posts have been removed. The iTunes account is also empty on Instagram – instead you are now referring to the Apple TV profile.

An attentive user also noticed that Apple redirects various URLs linked with iTunes to other addresses. So is loud Craig Hockenberry from the URL of ‘’ for songs the URL “”. More iTunes-specific links will also be diverted to “”, “”, “”, “” and “” reported Macrumors , citing developer Kyle Seth Gray .

macOS 10.15: New apps should be based on Uikit

According to Troughton-Smiths, the newly emerging apps may be based on the Uikit framework, which is part of Apple’s Project Marzipan. With Project Marzipan, which Apple announced in an early version for WWDC 2018, iOS apps can be ported to the Mac with little effort. Accordingly, we can also assume that the iOS apps music and podcasts will land on the desktop.

Another possible new macOS app, Apple seems to be moving the books app to the desktop. The application can be used to read and play e-books and audiobooks purchased from Apple – it could replace the existing books app on macOS. In addition, Apple announced in March that it would also bring its TV with Apple TV Plus to the Mac in the fall . It is unclear whether it is also based on Uikit, but it is obvious.

The announcement of macOS 10.15, accompanied by iOS 13 , is expected in the course of the developer conference WWDC 2019 in early June . In the course of the keynote on June 3, we should find out what Apple plans to do with iTunes.

Apple brings iTunes to the Windows Store

Microsoft announced exciting new additions to the Windows Store at Build 2017. Both Apple’s iTunes and Autodesk and the SAP Digital Boardroom will land in the store over the next few months.

Microsoft’s Windows Store has a prominent addition – including iTunes with Apple Music

Even at the launch of Windows 10 S, Microsoft had an important new addition to the Windows Store with Spotify. At Build 2017, the company announced further important applications that will populate Microsoft’s digital app shop by the end of 2017.

Where there is Spotify, Apple’s competitor iTunes should not be missing – however, the application will not be available in the Windows Store until the end of this year. But then with full functionality including Apple Music, iTunes Store and support for the iPhone and the other iOS devices.

Windows Store: Also SAP and Autodesk with UWP apps

Not only Apple wants to bring its app to the Windows store, the SAP software solution for executives, SAP Digital Boardroom, will also be available in Microsoft’s app store this month, according to Microsoft.

The SAP Digital Boardroom app is another addition to the Windows Store. (Screenshot: Microsoft)

In addition, Autodesk, which already presented its drawing app with the UWP application “SketchBook” in summer 2016, wants to publish the 3D game engine and real-time rendering software Autodesk Stingray and provide support for Windows Mixed Reality .

In Windows 10 S, apps can only be installed via the Windows Store. (Photo: Microsoft)

Microsoft has been trying since 2015 with the announcement of Project Centennial, with which developers can make their existing .Net- and Win32-based Windows applications fit for the Windows Store, to let the store grow. So far, the efforts have not been crowned with success. The first applications trickled in only in September 2016.

With the upcoming start of Windows 10 S , Microsoft is keen to get as many applications as possible in the in-house Windows store. Because in the new Windows version, which was primarily developed for educational institutions, only applications that are offered in the Windows Store can be installed. The installation of exe files is blocked.

358 million paid subscriptions: Music streaming increased by a third in 2019

Worldwide, music streaming services sold 358 million paid subscriptions in 2019. This corresponds to an increase of 32 percent. Spotify remains the market leader , but the competition has also made significant gains.

The music streaming industry also grew strongly last year. Worldwide the providers recorded an increase of 32 percent. This emerges from a report by the market research company Counterpoint. Market leader Spotify recorded an increase in subscription numbers of 23 percent. The Swedish company accounted for 35 percent of all paid music streaming subscriptions. Spotify’s share of total industry sales is 31 percent, according to Counterpoint.


However, the competition was able to catch up: Apple’s subscription numbers rose by 36 percent in 2019. This means that 19 percent of all music streaming subscriptions and 24 percent of sales are now attributable to Apple Music. Amazon Music, in turn, achieved a market share of 15 percent in 2019. In the year before, the Amazon service still had a market share of ten percent. Subscriptions remain the most important source of income for the industry: 80 percent of all sales are generated through paid memberships.

Despite the dominance of global providers: regional streaming services are very successful in their respective markets

While the major international music streaming services dominate in the USA and Europe, some regional providers can successfully hold their own at the top in their respective markets. According to Counterpoint , for example, the provider Gaana remains the market leader in India and Yandex Music is on the Spitzer in Russia. In the Arab world, Anghami is the main provider and the Chinese market is dominated by Tencent’s music streaming offerings.

Counterpoint attributes the success of the regional providers to their focus on local content, among other things. In addition, providers such as Tencent and Yandex also have an extremely large reach in their respective home markets and can therefore advertise their music streaming offers accordingly effectively.

One like the other? What makes music streaming services different

CD and MP3 were yesterday – now the music streaming services have taken over. There should be at least a dozen providers by now. But how do the individual services differ?

Listen to all the albums of your favorite band, indulge in nostalgia with playlists and, above all, get to know new things: Music streaming services offer all this and more in a very simple way – and often for offline use without internet access.

Using the music catalogs of the services to make a judgment about their quality is virtually impossible. Because the providers have millions and millions of titles on offer. Soundcloud , for example, has a scoop more , which has more than 120 million titles in its catalog because many artists also upload music directly there. Or also on Google’s Youtube Music , which like its sister offer Play Music can be used alternately by customers of both services, explains Marinus Martin from the IT portal “On Youtube you can therefore also find artists who are not represented on conventional streaming platforms are.”

Deezer, Soundcloud, Spotify and Youtube Music also have free offers

With just under ten euros per month, almost all services are priced in a comparable range. For example, Deezer , Soundcloud, Spotify or Youtube Music also have a free service variant, but users have to accept advertising and cannot use the offers offline.

In addition, there are family tariffs at Amazon Music Unlimited , Apple Music, Deezer, Google Play Music, Juke , Spotify, Tidal * or Youtube Music, through which up to five other family members can usually use the respective service. The cost point: around 15 euros per month.

If you are willing to spend around 20 euros a month, providers such as Deezer, Tidal or Qobuz offer a so-called hifi option. You can then stream music in lossless FLAC format at 16-bit resolution – depending on the provider, however, this may not be possible on all devices and with restrictions on offline use. Tidal and Qobuz even have recordings or subscriptions for music in studio master quality (FLAC with 24 bit and 192 kilohertz).

The experts from recommend, however, to forego streaming in the best transmission quality, at least on the go, if this can be set: “On the one hand, large amounts of data are transmitted, on the other hand, depending on the network availability at the location, interested parties have to experience interruptions in higher quality streams expect the music transmission. “

Stiftung Warentest compared the sound quality of streaming services with that of CDs

In a comparison, Stiftung Warentest compared the sound quality of streaming from various providers with that of CDs. “The music streaming services can absolutely keep up”, is the conclusion of the testers. “Even at the lowest level, they all sound at least good.” Differences to CD are unlikely to be audible for most users – especially not when listening to music with headphones while on the move. With the hi-fi tariffs, experts were actually able to measure a larger frequency range of the music in the laboratory. However, this did not improve the hearing quality in the test.

Classical lovers rely on Idagio or Alpha Play

Classical lovers will in principle find what they are looking for in all services. But when it comes to compositions that are not so familiar, gaps appear. And basically it is rather difficult to find what you are looking for, especially with classical music: “Even because of the mostly poor metadata, it is not easy to find exactly the right recording. The editor or composer of the work is ”, reports Special services such as Idagio or Alpha Play are therefore more suitable for classical music enthusiasts .

In principle, all services offer at least one free trial month. In this way you can find out who has the offer that is best tailored to personal needs. The services tend to have more and more radio plays and audio books in their program – both for adults and for children. Since most services can usually be canceled on a monthly basis even after a subscription has been taken out, there is nothing against trying out several services or switching from time to time.

If you attach great importance to the fact that already existing networked systems or loudspeakers can play the respective streaming service directly, you should make sure which services are supported by your device before taking out a subscription.

New subscription numbers: Spotify grows and grows – and leaves Apple Music by the wayside

Spotify has published new figures on its paid customers. Apple Music is disconnected. But that does not solve the Swedes’ problems.

The music streaming service Spotify has further expanded its role as market leader. The Swedes can now look back on more than 60 million paying users. On Tuesday, the company from Stockholm updated the number of users on the website . Within just under six months, Spotify was able to win ten million new payment customers. The startup last published new figures in March.

Spotify continues to expand market leadership

Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek once responded to Apple Music with: “Oh ok!” (Photo: Spotify)

In contrast to the number of paying customers, the number of users who can also listen without a paid subscription has apparently not changed. On the company side it still says that 140 million users are registered. In total, more than 30 million song titles are available on Spotify. The streaming service indicates the number of available playlists at more than two billion. The service is the market leader in more than 60 countries.

The numbers are a good sign for the company. This means that Spotify can continue to keep its biggest competitor Apple at a clear distance. The iPhone manufacturer has only 27 million subscribers to the in-house streaming service Apple Music. The service was launched in 2015 and caused a sensation in the music streaming market. Many experts predict Spotify will have gloomy times due to Apple’s gigantic marketing budget and general market power.

Despite its growth, Spotify is struggling with problems. Although the streaming service generates high sales, the profit is a long time coming. In 2016, the company generated sales of 2.9 billion euros. However, the loss in the same year was more than 539 million euros. So far, the strategy has been based solely on growth. According to media reports, however, the focus will be shifted significantly to profit this year.

Streaming services and vinyls allow the German music industry to grow

The German music market has grown again after two years of decline. The growth drivers were streaming services and, surprisingly, vinyl records as well.

Ostensibly driven by income from audio streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube Music, Audible and Co. as well as vinyl sales, the German music market recorded an 8.2 percent increase in sales for 2019. This emerges from the annual report of the Federal Music Industry Association .

Income from streaming services and vinyl sales have increased

After two years of declining sales, the German music market grew again last year. According to the Federal Association of the Music Industry, it should have brought in 1.6 billion euros and occupy fourth place in the global ranking. According to the association, audio streaming with a plus of 27.0 percent and, surprisingly, vinyl records, whose turnover from sales increased by 13.3 percent, are responsible for the growth. The turnover from CD sales, however, fell by 10.5 percent.

According to the association’s chairman, Florian Drücke, two thirds of the music business in Germany has now shifted to the digital space. Audio streaming, for example, accounts for around half of total sales. CDs make up 29 percent, audio downloads 6.2 percent and vinyls 4.9 percent.

These genres have boosted sales

Pop music continued to be the biggest sales driver last year with 25.8 percent. Hip Hop and Rap, on the other hand, took second place for the first time with 19.7 percent, closely followed by rock with 19.6 percent. The genres “children’s products” and dance accounted for 9.8 percent and 7.3 percent of sales.

Mega exit for teen app: sold for up to a billion dollars

It has more than 60 million users, is popular with teenagers and has made some of them stars: the app . Three years after the start, the hype startup is now announcing its exit. 

Snap’s share price shows just how hard it is to compete against Facebook. The parent company behind the Snapchat app has steadily lost its value since it went public. After the startup turned down a three billion offer from Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook and Instagram simply copied many functions – with success. With that, the unique selling point of Snapchat was gone from one day to the next. Purchase price between $ 800 million and $ 1 billion

Perhaps this story explains why the app has now decided to sell. The Chinese social media giant Toutiao is taking over the startup, founded three years ago, for a sum of between 800 million and one billion US dollars. The company announced on Friday. In a 2016 funding round, was valued at $ 500 million. The offer should continue to run independently in the future.

Music video app is considered a hit in the social network heaven. (Screenshot: iTunes /

Interestingly, the exit is rated very differently by the media. In times when investors are no longer so enthusiastic about social media, the sale of stands out as a “success story”, writes Techcrunch . At Recode, on the other hand, the sale is viewed more critically: It is a sign that the shareholders no longer believe in steep growth. The truth should lie in the middle: Of course, it is a success when an app makes a million-dollar exit, precisely because successful social media platforms apart from Facebook have become rare. However, one can also assume that – if everyone really believes that a startup can seriously compete with Facebook – a sale would not have been an option., the springboard for teen stars was founded in 2014 by Luyu Yang and Alex Zhu. The company’s headquarters are in Los Angeles. Similar to Snapchat, the app is particularly popular with young users. Teenagers can imitate well-known songs in playback style, the so-called Musical.lys last a maximum of 15 seconds. The app has – according to its own statement – more than 60 million users. The platform has made some of them stars: The German twins Lena and Lisa grew up on the social network, they now have more than 20 million fans.

Google’s music streaming services now have more than 15 million subscribers

Youtube Music and Google Play Music are said to have reached the 15 million subscriber mark.

The music streaming services from Google now apparently have more than 15 million subscribers. The US media company Bloomberg reported on Wednesday evening .

The subscriber numbers include the two streaming services Youtube Music and Google Play Music. This also includes users who have taken out a test subscription and have not yet paid for the service.

Still far from the competition

Bloomberg names two insiders as sources who do not want to be named because the information is not publicly available. Youtube did not want to comment on the number of subscribers to Bloomberg.

Google is still a long way from its two major competitors, Spotify and Apple Music. Spotify has more than 100 million paying users and Apple has more than 56 million . The Wall Street Journal reported in early April that in the US market, Apple Music, with 28 million paying subscribers, overtook Spotify, whose premium version is used by 26 million people in the US. Google’s two streaming services are still a long way from achieving user numbers of this magnitude.

Google’s plans for Youtube Music

Even before the streaming service started, there were many music videos on YouTube. However, users had to put up with advertising. The Youtube Music app, which specializes in music, has only been available since May 2018, and its paid version is ad-free. In the long term, it is likely that some of the successful features of Google Play Music will be integrated into Youtube Music and that Google’s older streaming service will be abandoned in favor of Youtube Music.

Google has already started to redirect certain user groups to Youtube, such as artists who are interested in using the Google Play Artist Hub. The service allows independent artists to upload their music and specify how they want their music to be available on Google Play. One of the options is to stream your own tracks on Google Play Music. On the English-language page of the Google Play Artist Hub, a notice appears that no new registrations are possible. Interested parties are advised to become a YouTube artist instead and use one of three suggested partners to offer music for sale or download.

Tencent Music: This is how the Chinese music provider could shake up the industry

The Chinese Tencent group is planning the IPO of its music division in the USA. It would be one of the biggest IPOs in the tech industry – and that would suit the Chinese model company.

The Chinese Internet company Tencent is planning to spin off its music division and go public in the United States. Even if details of the deal have not yet been communicated, one can already understand the dimensions of such an IPO (Initial Public Offering): The IPO could cost around 4 billion US dollars – with a valuation of the company of around 25 billion dollars.

For comparison: The Swedish competitor Spotify, which successfully launched in early April via direct placement on the New York Stock Exchange, was valued at around $ 26.5 billion at the time – the current price is just above the value that the company received during the first Trading day reached.
The first speculations about a Tencent spin-off already existed in April after Spotify launched. Both companies each own around nine to ten percent of each other’s shares – a fact that, excitingly, has resulted in higher analyst ratings for both companies.

The reasons for such a step can only be speculated: Of course it is fascinating for both partners to fish in each other’s waters. It remains to be seen whether the bill will work equally well for Tencent Music and Spotify. And the cooperation with Spotify, if it is not limited to financial matters, can open doors for Tencent Music with the big labels. After all, the western music market is still structured a little differently than other industries.

Tencent will conquer the west in the next few years

E-commerce, online advertising, social media, payment and video games – there is apparently no lucrative area that the Chinese Internet company leaves out. And that works damn well in the core market of China. In many cases, Tencent is following the country’s usual (and not disreputable) strategy of creative copying. As with a mashup, different technical features are linked and combined – with the aim of generating added value from the transfer. Tencent, that much is already clear today, is an issue for the large Internet companies in the western world and will leave its mark on the West in the next few years.