Spotify claims 100 million paid subscribers, Apple Music reportedly has more than 50 million, Amazon around 30 million, and according to a new report in Bloomberg, Google comes in fourth place at 15 million paid and promotional trial users of its YouTube Music and Google Play services. According to sources who spoke to the Wall Street Journal for an article published on Wednesday (May 8), the service has been struggling to recruit new subscribers.
Google’s head of music communications, Marni Greenberg, told Billboard that “YouTube aggressively disputes the WSJ report stating YouTube Music subscription growth has plateaued, countering that healthy subscription growth continued through Q1 of this year.” Though a spokesperson for YouTube declined to specify subscription numbers to Bloomberg, Greenberg confirmed to Billboard that YouTube Music and Premium-paid subscribers had grown 60 percent between March 2018 and March 2019.
Subscribers to YouTube Music Premium can access licensed music and user-generated music content ad-free for $9.99 per month, while YouTube Premium expands those offerings to all YouTube content for $11.99 per month.
When YouTube’s premium music service launched across the U.S., Canada, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and several European countries around the world almost exactly a year ago, the initiative looked promising for the world’s biggest video hub, which had accrued valuable data and listening habits of its 1.8 billion monthly users. Premium also streamined YouTube Red and Google Play Music into a single, more user-friendly offering.
Earlier this year, YouTube joined Spotify in entering India’s increasingly crowded streaming market, and made big moves in the rapidly evolving music video space with Taylor Swift’s “ME!” video. YouTube Music has also been making a bid for viewers with livestreams of Coachella’s both weekends (along with original content to coincide with the festival) and a recently announced livestream of Lollapalooza in August.