Spotify Seems to Be Gaining on YouTube's Streaming Dominance

Fanatic Studio

YouTube, the undisputed king of music streams, is getting chipped away at. We break it down.

Hozier's 2014 breakout can be attributed to the popularity of "Take Me to Church's" intriguing music video on YouTube. With an impressive 24 million video views to date, it's surprising that in any given week, more people listen to "Take Me To Church" on Spotify than on YouTube (and that includes user-generated views counted by YouTube's contentID system).

Nico & Vinz's "Am I Wrong"), Tinashe ("2 On"), Nick Jonas ("Jealous") and Sam Smith's "I'm Not the Only One" are just a few of many tracks that received more streams on Spotify than on YouTube, all with official music videos out and counting towards their weekly playcounts.

Of course, some songs, like Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" and Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" still dominate in the YouTube category because of their popular music videos, but it looks as though Spotify has a majority stake in the "up-and-coming" category.

The total volume of the on-demand streaming marketplace has increased by 50 percent, as tracked by Billboard, in the past year, from around 274 million streams a week in Nov. 2013 to roughly 413 million weekly streams in Nov. 2014. YouTube and Spotify are the clear leaders in the space, with roughly more than 91 percent of the total volume of on-demand streams in any given week coming from these two services. Over the past year, Spotify has begun to take market share from YouTube for the overall streaming volume of top tracks.

Keep in mind, this is not a market share, but rather a look at shares of top-charting songs. With the exception of the overall volume numbers, the breakdowns and increases are calculated just from the top 50 most-played songs in each period. 

In this breakdown, Spotify grows in shares over the year, from 22 percent to 33 percent, while YouTube drops from 66 percent to 58 percent of the total share. Comparing the two time-based graphs, a big spike appears in August, from the week when the official music videos for "Shake It Off" and "Anaconda" were released. Generally, YouTube is much more prone to drastic spikes in activity as consumers rush to the platform for big video debuts ("Anaconda" currently holds the Vevo record for 19.6 million global views in 24 hours).

2015 could see YouTube's share of these streams increase with the launch of Music Key, which will bring the service's vast catalog of songs to the consumer's mobile device in a new way. The on-demand streaming marketplace, as tracked by Billboard, is much more consolidated than one would expect. YouTube and Spotify are the clear leaders in the space, with more than 91 percent of the total volume of on-demand streams in any given week happening on one of those two services. But over the past year, it appears that for overall streaming volume of top artists, Spotify is beginning to take market share from YouTube.