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A history of music streaming

Person, Human, Guitar Creative Commons
Ed Sheeran is the most streamed artist on Spotify

Napster and BitTorrent initially changed the way people thought about music in 1999 before being taken down for unauthorised use of copyright material.

iPod launched in 2001 and by the mid-2000s, Pandora and Spotify had both launched.

The music industry shunned the new platforms at the start, with several artists blocking them from using their material for trying to reshape the cost of music.

YouTube got its start in 2005 and by 2010 it was the most popular video service in the world while VEVO arrived in 2009.

Music streaming became the dominant revenue generator for music labels in the mid-2010s and Apple Music was launched in 2015.

Biggest music streaming platforms

  • Spotify was the largest music streaming service in the world at of the second quarter of 2021 with a market share of 31 percent
  • Apple Music was in second place at 15 percent and Amazon Music and Tencent Music each tied at third with 13 percent
  • There were 523.9 million music streaming subscribers in Q2 2021, according to Midia Research
  • This suggests Spotify had just over 162.4 million subscribers, followed by Apple Music at almost 78.6 million subscribers and Amazon Music and Tencent Music at about 68.1 million each
  • According to Midia, the music streaming market is continuing to grow, and increased by 26.4 percent to the second quarter of last year

Top 5 global digital artists (as of the end of April 2022)

  1. Ed Sheeran
  2. Harry Styles
  3. The Weeknd
  4. Bad Bunny
  5. Adele


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