When it comes to digital audio platforms in the US, the clear choice is Spotify. With an estimated 78.5 million US monthly listeners in 2020, Spotify has more than 20 million more listeners than its nearest competitor, Pandora. The future looks even brighter for the streaming service and those like it, per data from eMarketer.
In the past 10 years, the reach of online audio in the US has increased from 27% to 68%. And, of the four audio streaming services analyzed by eMarketer, all but one have seen an increase in monthly listeners in 2020. Spotify has enjoyed the largest increase in listenership — up 13.1 million listeners from 65.4 million in 2019 — with projections showing the platform nearing the 100 million monthly listeners mark in 2023. Amazon Music (up 7.1 million to 45.8 million) and Apple Music (up 2 million to 35.1 million) also have seen their listener numbers increase in the past year.
After being overtaken by Spotify last year, Pandora has the second-highest number of regular listeners. However, despite seeing a large increase in listening time spent on the platform during the pandemic, Pandora continues to lose listeners year-after-year — with eMarketer estimating the service will shed 5.5 million listeners this year, to 58.2 million.
With a continued downward trend for Pandora in the works, eMarketer forecasts that by 2023 Amazon Music will surpass Pandora, with an estimated 52.5 million monthly listeners compared to Pandora’s 51.8 million. Amazon Music’s status of second-fastest growing digital audio provider is attributed, in part, to its range of options that include both free, ad-supported and paid streaming services.
Additionally, eMarketer credits Amazon’s Smart Speakers for part of the music service’s growth, pointing out that the combination of people spending more time at home on these devices and that Amazon Music is the default streaming service on their branded Smart Speakers has helped to increase the number of monthly listeners. Indeed, the Infinite Dial survey released earlier this year found that while 8% of respondents ages 12 and older cited Amazon Music as the audio brand they use most often, that figure doubled to 15% among Smart Speaker owners.