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How many users do Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming services have?

Sometimes the statistics around how many people are streaming music – and how many are paying for it – can lead to confusion and misinterpretation.

Recently, for example, we’ve seen one story suggesting that Amazon was “on course to overtake Apple Music” based on comparing an Amazon figure from January 2020 with one from Apple that hadn’t been updated since June 2019.

Another story claimed that “Pandora has overtaken Apple for second spot” in subscriber rankings, which mistakenly compared the former’s number of active listeners (most of whom don’t pay) to the latter’s paid subscriber count.

So, we’re trying something that will hopefully be useful: a post that we’ll update whenever a major streaming service updates its public numbers.

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Tencent Music reveals 30% growth in music subscriptions

2021 has been a bumpy year for Tencent Music Entertainment (TME), with the Chinese government cracking down on exclusive licensing deals with labels, and a wider climate in China of sterner regulation of big technology companies and their subsidiaries.

That’s a key reason why Tencent Music’s market cap (value) has plunged from its peak of $53.8bn in March to $13.5bn at the time of writing, although investors are also paying close attention to the company’s business performance. Talking of which, its Q3 financial results came out this morning.

Last quarter, Tencent Music generated RMB 7.81bn ($1.21bn) of revenues, up 3% year-on-year. Within that, its ‘online music services’ revenues grew by 24.3% to RMB 2.89bn ($448m), including a 30.2% growth in music subscriptions revenue to RMB 1.9bn ($295m).

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Tencent Music regulatory crackdown milder than feared

Well, we say ‘milder’: China’s biggest music streaming company isn’t completely out of the woods in the Chinese government’s regulatory crackdown on various technology firms.

After the latest announcement of fines for companies including TME’s parent company Tencent, Alibaba and Didi, Billboard noted that the government is not (“for now”) making any noises about forcing TME to sell any of its three music streaming services: QQ Music, KuGou or Kuwo.

Instead, Reuters suggested that China’s antitrust regulator will fine the company 500k yuan (around $77.2k) over reporting failures in its acquisitions of the latter two services, and that it will order the company to “give up exclusive rights to music labels which it has used to compete with smaller rivals”.

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Indian streaming service Gaana raises $40m from Tencent

Gaana, one of India’s biggest music streaming services, is turning to existing investor Tencent for a new round of debt funding. According to news site Entrackr, the amount is $40m from Tencent’s European subsidiary Tencent Cloud Europe.

This comes nearly 10 months after Gaana’s last round of debt funding: just over $50m from investors including Tencent Cloud Europe. Tencent, meanwhile, led a $115m funding round in Gaana in February 2018. Entrackr estimated that the latest round values Gaana at $570m-$580m, up from $530m last September, when the company also said that it had 185 million monthly active users.

This week’s news is a reminder of the fact that India is one of the few countries (see also: South Africa and various countries in south east Asia) where Tencent has an ownership or investment interest in rival streaming services to Spotify, with which it swapped shares in late 2017.