Spotify and Pandora lead US in audio listeners

Spotify has the most users among digital audio platforms, followed by Pandora, Amazon Music, and Apple Music. Amazon will surpass Pandora in listeners next year.

Within audio subscriptions, there’s a similar pattern. Spotify is the market leader in US audio subscriptions, followed by Apple Music, YouTube Premium, and Pandora. We don’t have visibility into how many people pay for Amazon’s music service independent of Prime access, but we expect Amazon to also be a major player in this space.

YouTube Premium isn’t exclusively used for audio listening, but we included it in this forecast because most users who pay for YouTube use it to listen to music or podcasts at least once per month. Our YouTube Premium metric combines YouTube Premium and YouTube Music. Our YouTube Premium estimate captures all users who use that product, including ones who use it for purposes other than audio listening. In September, Google disclosed that audio listening accounts for one-fourth of all time spent with YouTube.

Additionally, Spotify will overtake Apple in podcast listeners for the first time to become the new leader in the category. We expect Apple podcast listeners to plateau and Spotify listeners to keep increasing throughout our forecast period.

Spotify has grown its podcast base by acquiring companies like Gimlet Media, Anchor, Parcast, Megaphone, and The Ringer while also striking exclusive deals with celebrities such as Joe Rogan, Kim Kardashian, former President Barack Obama, and Michelle Obama.

Such originals and exclusives accounted for 21.7% of total time that people in the US spent listening to podcasts on Spotify, according to a September 2020 Spotify newsletter obtained by Insider. (Whereas, on a global level, originals and exclusives accounted for 18.7% of total time spent with podcasts.)