July 14, 2021

Are Streaming Services Really That Different?

The second post in our series explores differences in the most popular songs on streaming platforms.

In our previous post, we examined how vastly different the Top 20 most-played songs on each of the five most popular streaming services are. We found:

  • Country is huge on Amazon Music and Pandora, but non-existent among Apple Music’s most played songs.
  • Hip Hop is huge on Apple Music and YouTube, but largely absent on Amazon Music. Meanwhile…
  • Spotify is the new Sam Goody, where fans go to soak up every track when their favorite artists’ new albums drop.

Most Popular Genres on Streaming Platforms

Our analysis, however, was merely one snapshot in time. Is there any evidence that our observations of each streaming service’s most streamed songs are a true reflection of their users’ tastes?

To find out, we asked Coleman InsightsJohn Boyne if we could share some findings of the firm’s recent Contemporary Music SuperStudy 3, which compiled the most consumed songs in streaming, sales, and airplay during the past year, then tested the appeal of those songs using their FACT360 Strategic Music TestSM platform.

The result is a ranker of the United States’ and Canada’s most popular contemporary titles from the past five years among various music consumers—including those who prefer different streaming services.

Their data of the Top 100 most appealing songs among each streaming service’s core users closely mirrors our observations:

Genre Distribution by Streaming P1s

  • Hip Hop is big on Apple Music and YouTube: Listeners who prefer Apple Music or YouTube have more Hip Hop titles among their Top 100 highest rated songs than listeners overall, while listeners who prefer Amazon music have far fewer Hip Hop titles among their 100 favorites.
  • Country is big on Amazon Music and Pandora: Conversely, listeners who prefer Amazon Music and Pandora have more Country tiles among their Top 100 than do listeners overall, while Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube partisans have far fewer Country songs in their Top 100s.
  • Pop is the unifying sound popular on all services. As our examination of each streaming services’ most played songs also found, however, Pop is particularly popular among Spotify and Amazon Music users.

In short, both the behavior that Integr8 Research examined and the music appeal that Coleman Insights measured tell the same story.

Age might play a role in these taste differences. According to a recent study by YouGov, U.S. music consumers who prefer Amazon Music and Pandora are more likely to be older (35 and older) compared to other music services, while Apple Music and Spotify partisans are more likely to be younger (under age 35).

Another factor may be the device different streaming service partisans typically use. In 2019, Integr8 Research found that smart speaker owners were more than twice as likely to use Amazon Music compared to music consumers overall—suggesting that a significant portion of Amazon Music usage is on Alexa-enabled Echo devices.

Regardless of the reason, it’s clear different genre fans indeed use different streaming services. How do these findings impact how your radio station should examine streaming data? We’ll give you specific suggestions in our next post.

Here’s how to access each streaming service’s published charts of their most played songs:

How to access charts for major music streaming services
Spotify Logo https://spotifycharts.com/regional
Amazon Music https://music.amazon.com/popular/songs
Pandora Logo https://www.nextbigsound.com/charts/top-spins
YouTube Logo https://charts.youtube.com


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