Keeping books out of subscription services so the consumer has limited value for money and then blithely asserting the service doesn’t please the customer, something Markus Dohle had down to a fine art, is so 2022.
Spotify has already told us its Q1 global streaming operations topped 210 million paying subscribers, up 5m in just Q1.
We now know, from numbers released by the National Music Publishers Association, offering new data never before available, that 44 million of those were in the US (and conversely, therefore, 166 million were global beyond the US).
Per a report by Murray Stassen in Music Business Worldwide, Apple last revealed its numbers in 2019, claiming 60 million global subscribers. This latest data from the NMPA says about half of that came from the US, although of course the 2023 total figure will likely be more than the 60 million touted in 2019. In fact Stassen refers to a The Business of Apps estimate in mid-2022 that Apple Music had 88 million global subscribers.
Amazon Music came in third, with 29.3 million, comfortable above YouTube (8.5 million) and Pandora (2.4 million).
Perhaps most interesting from the NMPA announcement was the assertion that when “Amazon and Apple raised their subscription prices, not only did they not lose subscribers – they experienced subscriber growth.”
I’m in the middle of end-of-year assessment and exams at school, so no time now to dig up the video streaming numbers, but we all know the way things are moving, and book publishers need to be paying attention to the changing nature of consumption.
Hiding behind market manipulation to show consumers don’t care for book subscription doesn’t cut it any more. In every instance where consumers are given a fair option, subscription wins. Keeping books out of subscription services so the consumer has limited value for money and then blithely asserting the service doesn’t please the customer, something Markus Dohle had down to a fine art, is so 2022.
As we head into 2024 publishers really need to start addressing consumer preferences rather than dictating consumption patterns to bolster outdated production models.
Let me end this post with the latest numbers from Germany, as reported in Publishing Perspectives, where compared to 2019, downloaded audiobooks have risen 61.1 percent while streaming audiobooks have jumped 154.9%.
And maybe a quick mention that in Sweden 62.4% of all books sold are through subscription.
The only reason we are not seeing similar developments in the US is that publishers are deliberately side-lining the subscription option for US consumers