eMarketer publishes latest figures on US digital audio listeners


Spotify could have more than 100 million listeners in the US by 2025, if research firm eMarketer’s latest predictions are on the mark. The company has published its latest estimates for the US digital audio market, as well as predictions for the next four years of growth.

For US listeners, eMarketer expects Spotify to grow from 83.1 million this year to 100.6 million by 2025. In that time, it forecasts that Amazon Music will grow from 49.8 million to 56.9 million; that Apple Music will grow from 36.9 million to 40.6 million; and that Pandora will fall from 54.2 million to 46.1 million – overtaken by Amazon Music sometime in 2022.

As for paying subscribers, eMarketer predicts that Spotify will be the leader here too, growing from 44.7 million this year to 52.2 million in 2025. However, it sees YouTube Premium (including YouTube Music) coming up fast, growing from 29.5 million US subscribers in 2021 to 46.6 million by 2025, overtaking Apple Music (which it sees growing from 36.9 million to 40.6 million in that time) in 2023.

(And Amazon? “We don’t have visibility into how many people pay for Amazon’s music service independent of Prime access, but we expect Amazon to also be a major player in this space,” was how eMarketer explained its omission from this particular chart.)

As ever with predictions, this may be informed guesswork, but it’s guesswork nonetheless: there is plenty of scope for any of these companies to come up with new features, content and marketing to change the dynamics in the next four years.

Perhaps what we should talk about is this, though: eMarketer predicts that collectively, Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube’s subscribers will grow from 111.1 million US subscribers in 2021 to 139.4 million in 2025. That’s barely 7.1 million net new subscribers per year, in the world’s largest recorded music market.

Again, we’ll stress: guesswork. But it’s a useful reminder of the motivation for labels to explore new, high-potential markets like China, India and Africa, as well as the many potential partnerships in areas like gaming, fitness and social, to counteract any slowing growth for the biggest streaming services.

Written by: Stuart Dredge