TikTok and Spotify now neck-and-neck for users in Europe – but TikTok’s bigger in the US

MBW’s Stat Of The Week is a series in which we highlight a data point that deserves the attention of the global music industry. Stat Of the Week is supported by Cinq Music Group, a technology-driven record label, distribution, and rights management company.

How bothered should Spotify be about the rapid global growth of TikTok?

In basic terms, the two companies serve different, distinct purposes: TikTok is a free, short-form UGC video platform; Spotify is, as it now dubs itself, “the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service”.

Where the two platforms’ agendas clash is their respective abilities to persuade and direct the consumption of entertainment media. Aka: The consumer behavior that drives hit records.

There are another couple of overlapping competitive areas for TikTok and Spotify, too:

  1. TikTok owner Bytedance has launched its subscription-based Spotify rival, Resso, in markets such as India, Brazil and Indonesia, and has been pushing TikTok users to the platform;
  2. Spotify recently filed a US patent for a TikTok-esque fuction that would allow its users to create “video moments” accompanied by music within the Spotify app.

It’s interesting in this context to consider a couple of recent stats from TikTok – one of which is freshly released today.

TikTok has confirmed this evening that its platform just surpassed 100m Monthly Active Users (MAU) in Europe.

Putting the scale of this number into neat context for the music business: at the close of Q2, Spotify had approximately 101.7m MAUs in the same region.

(Spotify recently told shareholders that it had 299m Monthly Active Users across its free and Premium tiers worldwide at the end of June, with 34% of this number based in Europe.)

TikTok and Spotify, then, now appear to be neck-and-neck in Europe, which is Spotify’s biggest global territory in terms of MAUs.

Spotify obviously remains primarily a music service (although that description is becoming less true with every podcast deal it strikes).

TikTok users, meanwhile — although heavily indebted to music — create content spanning a range of verticals.

Still, a further comparison is interesting: according to legal filings, TikTok’s also surpassed a 100m MAU count within the United States last month.

Spotify, meanwhile, says that 26% of its global Monthly Active Users (MAUs) at the end of Q2 were based in North America (the US plus Canada) – equivalent to 77.7m, considerably behind TikTok’s user count in that part of the world.

TikTok’s 100m+ US number recently appeared within a lawsuit challenging Donald Trump’s attempt to force an effective ban on the video platform in the States (if, that is, TikTok’s US-based business is not successfully sold).

That same lawsuit filing also revealed that TikTok’s 100m+ US MAU number was up by nearly 10-times on January 2018, when the platform had just 11.3m active users in the United States.

In a similar timeframe (Jan 2018 to July 2020), TikTok’s global Monthly Active User count grew from 54.8m to 689.2m.

These numbers don’t include Douyin — the Bytedance-owned equivalent to TikTok in China – which had over 400m Daily Active Users (DAUs) in January 2020, according to Bytedance’s annual report.

It looks very likely, then, that TikTok and Douyin now jointly share a global audience of comfortably more than a billion active users.

This, though, is still some way behind YouTube‘s global MAU count: YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki confirmed in May last year that YouTube had surpassed 2 billion Monthly Active Users on its service worldwide.

Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Bytedance’s revenues in 2019 topped $17bn.

That was higher than the $15.15bn that Alphabet says YouTube generated in ad revenues last year – although YouTube also pulls in revenues from subscription offerings, including Youtube Music.

Cinq Music Group’s repertoire has won Grammy awards, dozens of Gold and Platinum RIAA certifications, and numerous No.1 chart positions on a variety of Billboard charts. Its repertoire includes heavyweights such as Bad Bunny, Janet Jackson, Daddy Yankee, T.I., Sean Kingston, Anuel, and hundreds more.Music Business Worldwide

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