Apple Music is winning the stateside streaming war. Here’s how it beat Spotify

why is apple music beating spotify in us market v transparent 3

Apple Music may still be tens of millions of paid subscribers behind Spotify in the global market, but the company now has more paying users in the most lucrative streaming nation of them all.  That’s right: Apple’s on-demand streaming service is now besting the Swedes with over 20 million subscribers in the United States, according to a recent report from Digital Music News.

Sure, Spotify beat iTunes in our head-to-head battle of the streaming giants, thanks to better music-discovery algorithms and less rapt focus on iOS and OSX usability, but that doesn’t mean we can’t see why Apple is winning the civil war of stateside streaming. Here’s how Apple Music pulled ahead of Spotify in the U.S.

Big Name Partnerships

Since Apple Music first became available to subscribers in 2015, the Silicon Valley giant has been playing a game of catch-up, and a key part of the company’s strategy has been a steady flow of partnerships involving blockbuster releases by big-name artists. In particular, Apple has done well to join forces with household names in the world of rap, hip-hop, and R&B — which make up over one-third of music streams in the United States, according to Neilsen Music.

drake
Drake/Facebook

Drake, Frank Ocean, Chance The Rapper, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and others have all signed deals for album releases via Apple Music at one time or another, either giving subscribers earlier access to their new music, or offering it exclusively to those who pay for Apple Music, though the exclusivity tact has become less common in recent years.

Drake, in particular, has seen significantly higher streaming counts on Apple Music than on Spotify.

Drake, in particular, has seen significantly higher streaming counts on Apple Music than on Spotify, recently shattering Apple Music’s 24-hour play count record with 170 million streams in the day following the release of his 2018 album Scorpion. Rapper J. Cole saw nearly double the number of streams on Apple Music than he did on Spotify in the day following the release of his latest record, KOD, in May 2018 — with over 64 million streams on Apple Music compared to just 36.7 million plays on Spotify.

Beyond offering listeners earlier access to their favorite artists’ new material, Apple Music has made a name for itself among die-hard fans by offering them access to artists via its popular Beats One radio service. A huge cast of cult-beloved musicians like Drake, Frank Ocean, Pharell, Ryan Adams, Deadmau5, and more have radio shows on Beats One, and this provides yet another reason for fans to choose Apple Music over Spotify; Spotify offers the very best algorithmic playlists that exist, but if you’re a die-hard fan of an artist with an Apple Music radio show, you’re more likely to choose Apple’s service.

More Human Radio

The success of Apple Music and Beats One is credited to more than simply having big-name radio hosts, though. If there’s anything that we’ve learned from the commercial success of companies like SiriusXM — which boasts over 30 million paid subscribers — and the steadily increasing listenership turning to internet radio stations, it’s that people love a human touch when it comes to radio-style listening.

why is apple music beating spotify in us market zane lowe

Zane Lowe Apple Music

While Spotify generates radio-style listening based on user data, Apple employs iconic tastemakers like Zane Lowe and others to offer listeners compelling interviews, exclusive first-listens, and various other content that they simply won’t find elsewhere. This might not be the kind of content that draws in casual listeners, but if you’re serious about staying up on the latest pop or hip-hop releases or news, there is a serious incentive to pick Apple Music over other on-demand streaming competitors.

Better iOS and OSX integration

The fact that the Apple’s iPhone is far and away the best-selling smartphone in the United States, and that the company’s iTunes service has long been the king of download-based digital music, has made it very easy for the company to grow subscriber numbers for Apple Music. Couple the built-in iOS App integrations with Siri and Apple Carplay — one place in which the human-curated Beats One radio is particularly compelling — and it’s easy to see why those who are at home inside Apple’s ecosystem would pick Apple Music over its competitors. After all, if you already own an iPhone and a Mac, there’s probably no reason that you wouldn’t try Apple Music first.

If you already own an iPhone and a Mac, there’s no reason that you wouldn’t try Apple Music first.

Those who amassed big libraries on iTunes may feel particularly tethered to Apple Music, as the company makes it easier than any other to maintain the same playlists and various other settings that listeners had in their iTunes library.

Continuing the climb

Though recent reports say that Apple Music may outpace Spotify by as many as three million paid subscribers in the United States by the end of 2018, Spotify still maintains a healthy lead when it comes to paid subscribers in the global market. As of January 2018, Spotify had over 70 million paid subscribers around the globe, nearly double the 36 million boasted by Apple Music in the same time period.

Apple’s numbers may be growing, but with its recent public offering and the continued popularity of its unpaid on-demand tier, Spotify will still continue to be the biggest player in the music streaming game for some time. That said, Apple is doing well to build its user base in the biggest streaming music market on earth, and we can expect that the company will continue to use big-name artists, human DJs, and clean iOS integrations to work towards eventual global domination.

Music

Brian Eno sets out to change music (again) with Bloom: 10 World

We always felt that Bloom was a musical system that could be developed further -- it was as if we’d built a CD player and only ever released one CD. For this release, we’ve created ten new worlds, starting with a reimagined version of…
Music

Apple Music may sign up more exclusive artists with purchase of Platoon

Apple purchased London-based Platoon, which is a startup that helps independent musicians get discovered by major labels. The acquisition may help Apple Music sign up more exclusive artists.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Home Theater

Plex amps up its music offerings with tight integration with Tidal

Plex may not be the first platform you think of for music streaming, but that may be about to change. The popular media server has added Tidal to its growing list of features, letting Plex users integrate their collections with Tidal's.
Smart Home

Apple Music hits the Amazon Echo. Is the cold war over?

It's about time. Amazon and Apple seem to have called a truce as Amazon agrees to add Apple Music to an ever-growing line of streaming music services on its Echo smart speakers that includes competitors like Spotify.
Deals

Enthusiast alert: Get up to 67% off Polk Audio speakers at Adorama

Any time is a good time to upgrade your home theater sound system, which makes Adorama's Polk LSI Blowout Weekend Sale particularly tempting. Adorama has discounts up to 67 percent on Polk Audio's top-of-the-line LSiM Series for…
Mobile

You may soon be able to listen to your own songs on Spotify’s Android app

If you love Spotify's streaming, but also have a large collection of niche music, then it can be hard to marry your two passions. Thankfully, Spotify appears to be testing the ability to import local songs to its Android app.
Home Theater

An acclaimed Apple analyst says the new AirPods are coming in 2019

Apple plans to release new AirPods much the same as it does new iPhones, and a wireless charging case, water resistance, and better Siri integration are among the improvements we can expect in future models.
Music

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Music

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've handpicked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.
Computing

Block out the sun and drown out the haters with Bose’s new AR sunglasses

Bose has announced its quirkiest listening device yet, a pair of headphone-integrated sunglasses that allow you to meander the brightest places with your favorite tunes in tow. Called the Frames, the glasses will sport 3.5 hours of battery.
Home Theater

Spotify Wrapped reveals rad facts about your musical tastes and habits

The website may be a bit tough to find at first, but Spotify Wrapped tells you awesome facts about your year in listening. From how many minutes you spent jamming out to your top artists, and beyond, there's a lot to dig into.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.
Music

From Paul McCartney to Mariah Carey, this is the best holiday music

Whether you're a fan of classic jazz standards or modern R&B masterpieces, there's something for everyone on our playlist of the best holiday music. Pour some eggnog and curl up by the fire, this one is sure to get you in the holiday…