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.

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.

Apple Music Can be Streamed for Free on American Airlines; Will Apple's Video Streaming Service Be Next?

Apple’s press release today:

Starting Friday, Apple Music subscribers can enjoy their access to over 50 million songs, playlists and music videos on any domestic American Airlines flight equipped with Viasat satellite Wi-Fi with no Wi-Fi purchase required. American Airlines is the first commercial airline to provide exclusive access to Apple Music through complimentary inflight Wi-Fi.

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As Apple continues to boost its services revenue in place of its now-plateaued hardware revenue, we’re beginning to see more and more deals between Apple and other service providers. Earlier this month, Verizon began offering a free Apple Music subscription to specific unlimited plans. Now with American Airlines offering free music streaming to Apple Music subscribers without having to purchase on-board WiFi, it’s only a matter of time before the other major U.S. airlines like United and Delta begin offering something similar, if not the same service entirely.

With Apple’s TV streaming service quickly approaching its rumored release of mid-April, it’s possible that this deal with American Airlines could soon become a deal for not just free Apple Music streaming, but also free streaming for subscribers to Apple’s upcoming TV service, which would be the first of its kind. Should this be the case, then its highly likely that other services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video would also attempt to make free streaming deals with the major airlines.

Verizon Now Offers a Free Apple Music Subscription

As of today, Verizon is offering a free Apple Music subscription to new and current users on their Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited plans. Users of the Go Unlimited plan are still offered the old service add-on of 6 months free, followed by the standard Apple Music subscription fee of $9.99/month.

If you or your family has multiple users on either the Beyond Unlimited or Above Unlimited plans, all you have to do is go into the My Verizon app and activate the free Apple Music subscription for each line, individually. From there, Verizon will text you with a verification and a link to open Apple Music. If you’re an existing Apple Music subscriber, Apple will detect your overlapping subscription and open a Safari web page prompting you to cancel either the Verizon or Apple subscription. Obviously, at this point you’d cancel the one that isn’t free.

My wife and I were both subscribed to the Apple Music Family plan, costing us $15.00/month. With Verizon’s add-on, we now each have free individual plans, but it works entirely the same way as the family plan.

Now that we’re beyond the age of carrier subsidies and 2-year contracts, and well into the age of no-strings attached $1000 iPhones, it’ll be interesting to see how the major carriers compete with one another for the consumer via add-on benefits. Currently, every major carrier offers some form of service add-on, with T-Mobile offering a free Netflix subscription, Sprint offering a free Hulu subscription, AT&T offering a free subscription of its live-TV streaming service, AT&T WatchTV, and now Verizon offering an entirely free subscription to Apple Music. Consumers certainly have their benefit options to choose from and those options are likely to improve over time.