Google is chasing its competitors in the world of music streaming services, according to subscriber numbers. Google’s two paid music services, YouTube Music and Google Play Music, have reportedly passed a total of 15 million subscribers.
The numbers come from two industry insiders who spoke to Bloomberg, and indicate that Google would be the fourth largest paid music streaming service. The leader in the music streaming world is Spotify, with more than 100 million subscribers, followed by Apple with more than 50 million subscribers. The third market leader is Amazon, with around 30 million subscribers.
Sources have said that YouTube Music was struggling to gain subscribers, according to the Wall Street Journal. But Google disputes this. “YouTube aggressively disputes the WSJ report stating YouTube Music subscription growth has plateaued, countering that healthy subscription growth continued through Q1 of this year,” Marni Greenberg, Google’s head of music communications, told Billboard.
Although YouTube is many people’s first port of call for all kinds of video content, including music videos, turning those users into paid subscribers has been a challenge. In recent years YouTube has launched a plethora of subscription services including YouTube Music, YouTube TV, YouTube Go, and YouTube Premium, most of which have been met with tepid response.
YouTube did not comment on the total number of subscribers it has using its YouTube Music service, but representatives did tell Bloomberg that subscription numbers grew by 60% in the year between March 2018 and March 2019. This includes both YouTube Music users and YouTube Premium users, who pay to remove the ads from YouTube videos.
Recently YouTube has been pushing hard into music streaming, moving into the growing Indian market and promoting a midnight premiere of Taylor Swift’s latest video, “ME!” The YouTube Music service has also featured a livestream of the Coachella festival and will be livestreaming the upcoming Lollapolooza festival too.
The situation with Google’s two music streaming services, YouTube Music and Google Play Music, is rather confusing. Both are owned by the same parent company, Alphabet, and when YouTube Music was announced most people thought it would be a replacement for Google Play Music. But both services continue to exist concurrently, even though the plan is to transition users over to YouTube music eventually.