We’ll stress upfront that this isn’t an official announcement from Amazon: the company hasn’t abandoned its policy of keeping its key music stats to itself.
Instead, this is an estimate from Midia Research, claiming that with 16 million subscribers across Prime Music and Music Unlimited, Amazon is now the third biggest music-subscription service in the world behind Spotify and Apple Music. Fourth place is taken by Chinese service QQ Music with an estimated 10 million subscribers.
“Throughout the emergence of the streaming market, Amazon has played the role of a dark horse, skulking on the side lines. Now, Amazon is out of the shadows and revealing its potential to be one of streaming’s biggest players,” wrote Midia’s Mark Mulligan in a blog post, adding that he believes 35% of Amazon Prime subscribers are now Prime Music users.
Overall, Midia thinks that by the end of June there were 162.6 million music subscribers globally: 36% on Spotify, 17% on Apple Music and 10% on Amazon – a combined market share of 63% for those three companies alone. The company estimates that Deezer has 6.3 million subscribers for a 4% global share and fifth place, with South Korean service MelON on 5.6 million and a 3% market share.
It’s not just Amazon’s numbers that are exciting the music industry in 2017, but its demographics. Prime Music in particular is reaching a truly mainstream audience, which means a.) it’s not cannibalising the growth of Spotify and Apple Music, and b.) it’s having an impact on genres that under-index on those services.
Meanwhile, with Echo and Alexa, Amazon remains a pioneer of the voice-controlled music discovery that’s being keenly followed by rightsholders – if also watched with concern by pureplay rivals worried about Amazon’s gatekeeper status for these forms of interaction.