According to newly released data, Apple Music has never played a song a billion times or more — a stark contrast to Spotify and its rapidly growing “Billion Club.”
Apple’s own streaming service revealed the shocking statistic in a recent blog post about Ed Sheeran’s Apple Music Live performance. Background: Apple has long opted against counting the exact number of users behind its music streaming offering, instead counting the combined total subscriber counts for its suite of services (Apple TV+, Apple Fitness+, etc.).
As such, the exact usage of Apple Music — which, I must reiterate, costs $10.99 a month in the US and doesn’t have an ad-supported tier unlike Spotify, Deezer, and others — has been the subject of debate for some time Speculation. According to executives, as of April 1, Apple had a total of 975 million subscriptions across all services.
The category reportedly generated nearly $21 billion in revenue in the three months ended April 1, and JP Morgan last June predicted that Apple Music itself would hit 110 million subscriptions by 2025.
Coming back to the newly released stream count insights, Apple Music shared that Sheeran’s “Shape of You” is “the most-streamed song of all time on Apple Music,” with roughly 930 million plays across the platform.
“His 2017 hit single ‘Shape of You’ is the most-streamed song of all time on Apple Music, with more than 930 million plays worldwide,” the statement said disclosure. Meanwhile, the six-year-old track has received 3.48 billion Spotify streams to date, while the song’s official music video has racked up around 5.90 billion YouTube views.
It’s also worth noting that “Shape of You” currently ranks second on Spotify’s most-streamed songs list, behind The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” (3.58 billion), but also ahead of Tones and I’s “Dance Monkey” (2 .82 billion). as Lewis Capaldi’s fourth-place “Someone You Loved” (2.78 billion). Aside from that, every One of Spotify’s top 100 songs (by streams) is currently played well over a billion times, and there’s evidence that user growth is allowing tracks to hit streaming milestones faster than ever.
Among other things, the figures underscore the continued reach of Spotify, which reported 515 million monthly active users (including 210 million subscribers) at the end of the first quarter. (In the Other Stuff category, reports have confirmed that Spotify is contractually bound to give the major labels spots on prominent first-party playlists.)
Finally, notwithstanding the implied difference in the number of users of Apple Music and Spotify, it should be emphasized that many users of the Stockholm-headquartered platform live in countries where advertising is comparatively cheap and subscriptions are relatively affordable.
The points affect Spotify’s per-stream royalty, which pools the revenue and then distributes it based on each artist’s share of the total streams. While Spotify reported little change in the geographic distribution of its subscribers for the first quarter — overall, 67 percent of its paying users were based in North America or Europe — 49 percent of its monthly active users lived outside of North America and Europe during the quarter.
As part of the latter, Latin America’s user share surpassed North America’s user share for the first time in Spotify’s history, with the rest of the world’s user share quietly increasing by 15 percent since the end of Q1 2019.