And the biggest music streaming platform in the world is…

…not Spotify. Nor is it Apple Music. The reigning champ? YouTube.

According to a YouGov study out of the UK, more than two billion get their music from YouTube each month. The study looked at streaming behaviors of music fans in 17 different countries to see how things have shifted, especially during COVID. The study found that the majority of people on the planet go to YouTube for their music.

In the US, that number 44%, far ahead of Spotify (27%) and Amazon Music (24%). Apple Music was way down the list at 12%. I quote:

Among people in the United States and Great Britain, for example, there was an acceleration of active listening (music streaming and podcasting) and a decrease in passive listening (AM/FM and satellite radio) as people spent less time in their cars and more time in the comfort of their homes.

A look at some of the popular music streaming platforms around the world shows YouTube as a leader in the space – albeit mainly being known as a video streaming platform. In the US for example, roughly two in five Americans say they use YouTube to listen to music (44%), followed by a close race between Spotify (27%), Pandora (25%), and Amazon Prime Music (24%). There are notable differences by age too: younger Americans are significantly more likely to stream music using both YouTube and Spotify while older Americans tend to gravitate toward using YouTube and Pandora.

The differences in platform usage by age are likely tied to overall differences in music listening. Americans aged 18-34 prefer music streaming over CDs and downloaded music, making platforms like YouTube and Spotify a natural fit because they allow users to search for the specific song or album they want to listen to (a feature Pandora now offers albeit later than its competitors). Adults aged 50 and over, on the other hand, largely listen to radio in the car and their CD collection, making Pandora’s radio-based format a natural extension of their linear radio listening on their smart TV or smartphone and Amazon Music on their Alexa devices.

Another fact: 85% of music video viewing happens on YouTube–no surprise there–but 60% of is done on a mobile device.

Read more here and here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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