Spotify Premium Hits 100 Million Subscribers

As part of their Q1 2019 earnings report, Spotify announced its user growth to 100 million paying subscribers - about 50% of all Spotify subscribers (premium and free). This past January, Apple announced its user growth to 50 million paying subscribers.

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Spotify claims that a large portion of its new Premium subscribers is a result of its aggressive promotions, stating:

“Outperformance was driven by a better than plan promotion in the US and Canada and continued strong growth in Family Plan. We also saw strong growth from the expansion of our Google Home Mini promotion, as well as the price reduction to our Spotify Premium + Hulu offering in the US.”

As an Apple Music subscriber, I can only hope that this report will encourage Apple to introduce a services bundle for Apple Music, as well as its many upcoming services. Spotify’s double subscriber rate compared to Apple Music has shown how essential promotional deals and services bundles are to continued growth in music subscription services.

Music streaming is bland and non-unique. Aside from app UI, both Spotify and Apple Music offer essentially the same content at the same price. Any multi-billion dollar company can license music and sell a streaming subscription. So for Apple and Spotify, the question is how to win-over consumers to your brand as opposed to the alternative. That answer is television. Spotify’s offering of Hulu for no additional charge makes their brand literally more valuable than Apple Music’s offerings, despite both services being $10/month. Give ten dollars to Apple and you get music. Give that same ten dollars to Spotify and you get that same music plus a Hulu subscription. Luckily, Apple’s own video streaming service, Apple TV+, is coming this fall - hopefully in a bundle.

If Spotify and Apple Music both offer a bundled service of music and TV, the “identical service” issue will be gone. While they’d continue to offer generally an identical music service, they can differentiate their brand with the content of their video services. It’s here where Apple has the upper-hand. Apple is in complete control of its video offerings, while Spotify is simply partnering with an entirely different entity.

In the near future, I hope to choose my music subscription based on the bundled video service that best suits my interests. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple never comes close to bundling its multitude of services.


Follow Doug Davis on Twitter @thedougdavis and get blog updates @autonomous_blog.

The Apple TV YouTube Channel

Inching ever closer to its May 2019 update, Apple quietly unveiled a YouTube channel dedicated entirely to Apple TV. Ryan Christoffel at MacStories said:

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“Over the last few weeks Apple has quietly debuted a new YouTube channel dedicated to one of its services: Apple TV. The Apple TV channel is home to a variety of videos, like trailers for upcoming films and TV shows, exclusive behind the scenes clips and interviews tied to popular shows and movies, and, of course, videos highlighting Apple's own original content efforts, like an Apple TV+ trailer…”

We’ll be receiving the major update to the Apple TV app this May, but with Apple TV+ launching this Fall, it’s only a matter of time before we begin seeing trailers for Apple’s original content. Apple traditionally posts all of its product promo videos to its self-branded YouTube channel. Given the number of original productions in the works at Apple, it makes sense to keep all Apple TV+ promotional content confined to a specific YouTube channel, while keeping the company’s main channel available for the occasional iOS or macOS device promo.

If you’re interested in exactly what Apple will be producing within its streaming service, go smash that subscribe button on the Apple TV YouTube channel.


Follow Doug Davis on Twitter @thedougdavis and get blog updates @autonomous_blog.

Disney+ - Coming November 2019

Disney has officially announced a launch date for its upcoming video streaming service, “Disney+.” Coming to the U.S. on November 12th, 2019 at just $6.99/month or $69.99/year, Disney+ is throwing a bomb into the video streaming service industry.

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In addition to price and launch date, Disney also announced an extensive list of content coming to the service. According to Disney:

“Disney+ will launch in November with a robust library of theatrical and television content, and in its first year will release more than 25 original series and 10 original films, documentaries and specials by some of the industry’s most prolific and creative storytellers.”

What’s Included

Some notable titles coming with Disney+ include:

  • The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, a live-action series with Anthony Mackie returning as Falcon and Sebastian Stan reprising his role as Winter Soldier

  • WandaVision, a live-action series with Elizabeth Olsen returning as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany reprising his role as The Vision

  • Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2, a documentary series showing the hard work and imagination that go into making one of the most highly anticipated Walt Disney Animation Studios features of all time

  • The World According to Jeff Goldblum, a documentary series where Goldblum pulls back the curtain on a seemingly familiar object to reveal a world of astonishing connections, fascinating science and a whole lot of big ideas

  • The Mandalorian, the world’s first scripted live-action Star Wars series

  • The exclusive new season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars

  • And now with Disney’s completed acquisition of 21st Century Fox, all 30 seasons of The Simpsons will be included at launch with Disney+.

While this press event was intended for Disney investors, I believe the company made a highly convincing argument to consumers that are beginning to the feel the monetary strain of so much content on so many different services. Disney laid out an impressive amount of content - some of which, like Marvel and Star Wars, has the most devoted fan-base in the world - all for an incredible price of $6.99/month. That’s an entire vault of new and old Disney content for about half the price of Netflix, and less than a music subscription with either Apple Music or Spotify. Disney+ is a bargain.


Follow Doug Davis on Twitter @thedougdavis and get blog updates @autonomous_blog.

Apple's Video Service Will Be Prestigious

Bloomberg reported today:

Apple Inc. is targeting prestigious awards for an upcoming slate of original movies and TV shows, demonstrating grand Hollywood ambitions for a video streaming service that will compete with Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and established studios, according to people familiar with the plans.

As Apple comes closer to their announcement date of their video streaming service, I’ve seen many Apple users compare the upcoming service to Apple’s previous dabbling in entertainment industry with projects such as Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps - both of which I’d consider to be gimmicky and amateurish. But despite these past projects, it’s clear that Apple has serious ambitions with this upcoming video service, so much so that now the company is apparently expecting to be considered for prestigious awards like the Emmy and Oscar.

Here are just a few producers, actors, and actresses involved in Apple’s $1 billion investment into their streaming service:

  • Steve Carell

  • Reese Witherspoon

  • Jennifer Aniston

  • Steven Spielberg

  • Octavia Spencer

  • Kristen Wiig

  • Jamie Erlicht

  • Zack Van Amburg

  • Damien Chazelle

  • Loren Bouchard

  • M. Night Shyamalan

  • Chris Evans

  • Rob McElhenney

  • Charlie Day

  • JJ Abrams .


Follow Doug Davis on Twitter @thedougdavis and get blog updates @autonomous_blog.

Spotify and Hulu Hedge Against Apple

Spotify and Hulu are partnering up to offer a free Hulu subscription to any Spotify Premium subscriber. According to Spotify, here’s how it works:

If you’re already a Spotify Premium user, it only takes a few seconds to add Hulu’s ad-supported plan to your account - just visit the Your Services page.

If you’re new to Spotify Premium, sign up for the bundle now at Sptofiy.com; you’ll get your first thirty days of both Spotify Premium and Hulu on us, then pay $9.99 per month.

Subscribers who are currently paying $12.99 per month as part of last year’s bundle offer will be automatically reduced to the regular Spotify Premium $9.99 price.

This services bundle announcement comes just a day after Apple announced its own video streaming service event for March 25th. I’m anticipating that Apple will offer a discounted bundled-price for subscribers to both Apple Music and the new streaming service. This bundle might even include the option to add the upcoming Apple News service. What I’m not anticipating, however, is that Apple will include its video streaming service for free to Apple Music subscribers - like Spotify is now doing with Hulu.

Apple is gearing up for a full-scale invasion into the services industry this year - possibly this month - and Spotify and Hulu are preparing their defense. If those companies, like me, are anticipating Apple to offer a discounted, non-free bundle for their services, then Spotify and Hulu’s announcement today of $9.99 per month for music and video is their way of hedging against whatever Apple will be announcing in two weeks.

For instance and out of complete speculation, let’s imagine that Apple continues to offer Apple Music for $9.99/mo. and offers their video streaming service for $9.99/mo. as well. It’s likely that Apple would also offer a discounted bundled version of these two services for just $14.99/mo. If this is the case, then its a no-brainer for Spotify and Hulu to offer a competing bundle of music and video for a full $5 less than Apple’s bundle of music and video.


Follow Doug Davis on Twitter @thedougdavis and get blog updates @autonomous_blog.