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The Playlist Revolution Streaming’s Battleground

Report by Zach Fuller
Cover image for The Playlist Revolution
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The 20,000 Foot View:  Playlists are swiftly becoming the lingua franca of the music streaming economy. While most closely associated with Spotify, playlists are now central to streaming as an entire sector. While playlists may not yet have become the dominant use case for streaming music in the way that binge watching is for video, they are transforming how audiences consume music and are becoming the key tool by which streaming services can differentiate in a commodified and highly-competitive market.

Key Findings

  • Playlists are            music consumption, with            of consumers            that they are listening to            less because of playlists
  • Though others            catching up, Spotify remains a            power in playlists:            of Spotify            listen to playlists regularly, compared                       of music streamers
  • Spotify has            majority of curated playlist users:            curated playlist listeners are Spotify            active users (WAUs)
  • Just            of            listen to music over smart            although the rate rises to            average of            across key streaming            app users
  • Smart speakers            be the native platform for            due to the fusion of            learning, device and location
  • Spotify has            highest usage of its top            playlists, with an average            WAU            of Spotify users across the                       and            for Today’s Top Hits
  • Amazon’s top            average WAU penetration is just            unlike Apple and Spotify its            are dominated by genre, mood            activity hybrids
  • Mood playlists            most popular with younger consumers            age            while genre lists appeal            to older consumers (average age           
  • Podcasts are            as an important complement to            with Spotify leading the charge 
  •            of Spotify users are podcast listeners, compared to            for Apple Music users

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Amazon, Amazon Music Unlimited, Amazon Prime Music, Anchor, Apple, AT&T, Comcast, Deezer, Facebook, Gimlet, Google, Google Play Music, iHeart Radio, Instagram, Liberty Media, Microsoft, Pandora, Sirius XM, Soundcloud, Soundsgood, Spotify, Twitter, Viacom, Warner Media, Your Daily Drive, YouTube

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