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 Netzwelt.de: “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 Teltarif.de 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 Teltarif.de. 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: Musical.ly 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 Musical.ly 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.

Musical.ly: Purchase price between $ 800 million and $ 1 billion

Perhaps this story explains why the Musical.ly 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, Musical.ly was valued at $ 500 million. The offer should continue to run independently in the future.

Music video app Musical.ly is considered a hit in the social network heaven. (Screenshot: iTunes / t3n.de)

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 Musical.ly 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.

Musical.ly, the springboard for teen stars

Musical.ly 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.

These audio tools help you with work, concentration and relaxation

Music and a pleasant audio environment can increase productivity in the workplace and provide relaxation afterwards – at least that’s what studies suggest. We’ll show you some tools that will provide you with crackling chimneys, birdsong, cozy cafes and pleasant background music.

What do we all have great  noise-canceling headphones or modern laptop speakers for? For example, so that we can be pampered musically or simply with beautiful nature noises at work. Since the 1970s, researchers have repeatedly found a connection between music and increased productivity. In 2005, the American Teresa Lesiuk found out that people under the influence of music complete their tasks faster than those who cannot be exposed to sound. She was also able to determine a positive effect in terms of the wealth of ideas. How can that be?

Background audio helps with work

Put simply, it’s the dopamine. The happiness hormone – assuming the right choice of music – ensures a positive mood and stimulates motivation. While fast-paced pieces of music are said to be helpful for simple activities, researchers recommend quieter titles for more complex tasks. There are also relaxing natural sounds or sounds specially designed to activate different brain regions, such as white, brown or pink noise. All this and more are provided by the providers of various audio services and apps, some of which we present here.

These music and audio tools will help you

Focus at Will advertises neuroscientific music. (Image: Focus at Will)

Focus at Will

If you want to take music and ambience really seriously for more productive work, Focus at Will offers you well-founded content. According to the developers, the music, composed according to neuroscientific findings and specially curated for certain requirements, increases the attention span compared to the normal value of 20 minutes to up to 200 minutes. The service is primarily aimed at students, professional writers, developers and lawyers. According to the developer, the catalog of music and ambient sounds such as running water amounts to several thousand hours. You can use Focus at Will as a client on macOS and Windows , as an app on iOS and Android or in a web browser.

Price : Free / from $ 9.95 per month per user (Pro version)

Noisli is the place for anyone who likes natural soundscapes. (Screenshot: Noisli)


At Noisli you get a versatile sound mixer with which you can put together a feel-good atmosphere from up to 28 different sounds with a click of the mouse. Would you like the crackling of a campfire with ocean surf and rumbling storm clouds in your ears? Or do you prefer noise that increases concentration? Noisli makes it possible. As a small additional feature, Noisli even has a text editor on board, which is supposed to enable trouble-free and efficient work, as well as colored backgrounds and timers for automatic switch-off. It is available in every browser, as an app for iOS and Android and as an extension for Google Chrome . You can hear up to 16 different sounds per day for one and a half hours free of charge.

Price : free / from 8 euros per month and user (Pro version) / 2.29 euros (app)

Hipstersound.com mixes café scenery with music and nature sounds. (Screenshot: t3n)


The name says it all – and hipster sound doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously. The service offers you various restaurant and café soundscapes, to which you can switch on other noises such as rain and open fire, but also casual jazz, piano and guitar music. Only three environments are available in the free web service; more are available in the premium model. This also brings additional features such as a rain noise simulator and a generator for noise of different frequencies.

Price : Free / $ 29 per year per user (Premium)


It is a cliché that aspiring writers, bloggers and creative workers in general often sit in cafes to be diligent. There is a reason for this, however: Quiet work environments supposedly suppress the creative thought process, while ambient noises that are too loud distract from the essentials. The Starbucks backdrop is therefore exactly in the middle. The makers of Coffitivity take advantage of this and offer different types of background rumors from restaurants, bistros and more. You can virtually sit down in the browser. Coffitivity is also available as a free, somewhat streamlined app for iOS and Android and as an open source app for macOS .

Price : Free / from $ 9 per year per user (Premium)

Although primarily an entertainment service, Spotify also has numerous playlists that are designed for productive work. (Screenshot: t3n)


Unsurprisingly: Spotify, the world’s best-known music streaming service, can also give you a musically support at work as it does during sports workouts and relaxation. For this you will also find a variety of suitable playlists on Spotify itself, which are designed for concentrated work. It’s best to find out for yourself how well the respective combinations fit you. We have picked out a few recommended ones for you .

Price : free / 9.99 euros per month and user (premium)

With Rainy Mood you bring a cozy thunderstorm atmosphere to your desk. (Screenshot: Rainy Mood)

Rainy mood

“Rain makes everything better” – at least that’s what the Android and iOS app Rainy Mood thinks and provides you with a varied selection of rain and thunderstorm noises in an endless loop that you can put together individually. This should ensure relaxation and a pleasant working atmosphere. You can also use Rainy Mood in your browser for free. Here, however, you do not have the opportunity to put together your own individual rain backdrop. The ministry does that for you. For this you can also play music selected by the provider that is embedded by YouTube.

Price : free / 3.19 euros (Android) / 3.49 euros (iOS)

Noise is typically minimalistic for iOS and offers you a sound mixer for various natural sounds. (Image: Apple App Store)


If you are busy with your iPhone or iPad , or at least have it close by at work, you can use the Noise app to create a productive work audio atmosphere. You can put together your backdrop from twelve different ambient sounds such as the babbling sound of the sea, a cozy café or the spring wind. If you want different sound environments for different situations, you can save your compositions as mix tapes. Additional noises and the option of running Noise in the background are available as an in-app purchase or as part of the premium version, which also supports Airplay.

Price : free / 1.09 euros (individual sounds / functions) / 8.99 euros (premium)

Amazon Music: Free music streaming with advertising now for all users

Amazon is launching an alternative to Spotify Free. The free, advertising-financed music streaming offer from Amazon Music can be used on smartphones, tablets and Fire TV devices.

So far, Amazon has only offered its free, ad-supported music streaming service to owners of an Echo speaker . Since November 19, 2019, it can be used via the Amazon Music apps on any smartphone with Android and iOS, web browser and Fire TV products without Amazon Prime membership.

Free Amazon Music Offer: You only need an Amazon account

With theAmazon offers free streaming service * an alternative to the free Spotify Free offer from the music streaming industry leader Spotify. There is a big difference between the two free services: While Spotify Free users have access to the complete streaming offer of 50 million tracks, Amazon’s free service delivers a reduced selection of music based on playlists and, according to their own statements, “thousands” of radio stations on a song, artist, era or genre. They also have access to the top playlists – and “the best Christmas carols”.

Amazon Music Free

The free Amazon Music offer offers “thousands” of playlists and radio stations. (Screenshot: t3n / Amaazon)

The advertisements on Amazon’s service take place after playing some songs and are several seconds long. The length and number of advertising depends on usage, according to Amazon. Offline playback is not possible in the advertising-financed model, which is reserved for paying customers.

Despite the comparatively limited scope, it is clear that Amazon’s offer is a clear challenge to Spotify. According to the latest figures , Spotify has 248 million users , 113 million of which are paying customers. Spotify’s ad-financed service also offers a wider range of functions: Among other things, users can also create their own playlists. For people who only listen to music in the background, the restrictions should not be relevant.

Amazon Music with 3 paid models

In addition to the new free offer, Amazon now offers three different paid models for its music streaming service. Prime Music is part of the Amazon Prime Bundle , which costs 69 euros a year. It includes access to two million songs and “thousands of playlists”.

Echo Studio supports 3D and HD audio.  The respective sound quality is displayed in the Amazon Music app.  (Photo: t3n)

Echo Studio supports 3D and HD audio. The respective sound quality is displayed in the Amazon Music app. As standard, the best available sound quality is always streamed (Photo: t3n)

Amazon Prime Music Unlimited is divided into two sections:For 9.99 euros per month * , users get access to 50 million songs, thousands of playlists and radio stations. Similar to Spotify, Amazon offers family membership for 14.99 euros. Furthermore, Prime customers can book the Unlimited tariff a little cheaper for 7.99 euros. Since September 2019, Amazon has been offering the Amazon Music HD service with better sound quality to match its premium echo loudspeaker Echo Studio (test) . HD content is transmitted at up to 3.7 megabits per second, while the standard quality on Amazon Music is a bit rate of 320 kilobits per second. Amazon’s HD Music costs from 14.99 euros or 12.99 euros for Prime customers.

Music, news and TV – Apple’s planned super subscription should start in 2020

The supposedly planned by Apple super subscription for music, news and TV services is apparently taking shape. Such a service could be launched as early as 2020. Apple hopes for more customers.

A few weeks ago, the media had already reported on Apple’s alleged plans to want to put together a combination of the paid services Apple TV Plus and Apple Music. According to new information, the rumored Super Abo should – at least in the US – include Apple TV Plus and Apple Music as well as Apple News Plus. This subscription offer could be launched as early as 2020, as Bloomberg reports, citing company insiders.

Super subscription: Apple is said to have negotiated with publishers

The new rumors about the supposedly planned super subscription feed on information about commission negotiations that Apple is said to have conducted with publishers involved in the News Plus service. Accordingly, the iPhone group is said to have secured the rights there to bundle the subscription service with other paid services. The News Plus service, launched in March in the US, offers users access to a range of magazines and newspapers and costs ten US dollars a month. Apple keeps half of the income and the publishers get the other half.

According to the insiders, the publisher would lose income in the event of such a super subscription, as the costs for the individual News Plus service would have to be reduced. However, the publisher’s revenues are apparently well below their expectations anyway. According to Bloomberg, a publisher can expect on average less than $ 20,000 a month. With Texture, the service taken over by Apple , which forms the basis for News Plus, the income was significantly higher. The number of News Plus subscribers is unknown. The service is available in the US, UK and Australia.

Apple wants to bundle fee-based services

Apple, in turn, wants to increase the number of customers by bundling its fee-based services in a super subscription. Apple is already experimenting with linking the services. Most recently, students with a music subscription were given free access to the newly launched TV Plus . TV Plus for one year free of charge for Apple hardware buyers who bought it after September 9th. Apple apparently has a similar model in mind for the future as Amazon has introduced with its Prime subscription. The group has not commented on the media report.