What are the top 3 most used music apps?

Music apps have become incredibly popular in recent years. With smartphones now ubiquitous, most people have access to stream music anywhere. The top music apps have tens of millions of users who listen to songs, playlists, podcasts and more. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the top 3 most used music apps based on monthly active users and other metrics. We’ll specifically be looking at Spotify, YouTube Music, and Apple Music.

Spotify is currently the most used music app globally, with over 422 million monthly active users. YouTube Music comes next with over 50 million subscribers. And Apple Music rounds out the top 3 with an estimated 78 million subscribers worldwide. We’ll explore the history, features and demographics of each app in the sections below.

1. Spotify

Spotify is undoubtedly the most popular music streaming service, with over 400 million monthly active users as of 2022 (siteefy.com). Launched in 2008, Spotify offers access to over 82 million songs and 4 billion playlists (ibtimes.com). One of the main reasons for Spotify’s popularity is its freemium model – users can access the full music catalog for free with ads, or pay a monthly fee for Spotify Premium to get ad-free listening and additional features.

Spotify has a huge variety of music across every genre imaginable. It offers personalized recommendations based on listening history and allows users to follow artists to keep up with new releases. Playlists curated by Spotify’s editors, artists, and users make discovering new music effortless. Other key features include offline listening, high quality audio, and connect features to share music with friends.

The app’s user interface is intuitive and easy to navigate. Spotify is available across a wide range of devices from mobile to desktop to gaming consoles. It has cultivated a fun brand image centered around music and creativity. Ultimately Spotify’s combination of an extensive catalog, personalization, and social features has made it the go-to place for music listening for millions worldwide.

#2 YouTube Music

YouTube Music is a music streaming service developed by YouTube. It provides official songs, albums, thousands of playlists and artist radio plus YouTube’s catalog of remixes, live performances, covers and music videos. The service has over 80 million Music and Premium subscribers globally as of November 2022.

One of the key features of YouTube Music is its deep integration with YouTube. The massive catalog of music content on YouTube is seamlessly integrated into YouTube Music. Users can easily switch between official songs and user generated content like covers, remixes and live versions. This gives users access to a much wider catalog of music compared to other services.

YouTube Music currently has over 80 million paying subscribers globally as of November 2022 according to an announcement by YouTube’s Global Head of Music Lyor Cohen. This makes it one of the top music streaming services behind Spotify. YouTube Music has seen phenomenal growth in recent years as YouTube leverages its massive user base to promote the service.

#3 Apple Music

Apple Music is a music and video streaming service developed by Apple Inc. It offers over 90 million songs and 30,000 playlists. Apple Music is built into Apple devices and available on iOS, Mac, HomePod, Apple Watch, Android, Apple TV, and on the web at music.apple.com. It provides music recommendations personalized for each user’s music taste.

As an iOS native app, Apple Music is seamlessly integrated across iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, CarPlay, and HomePod. This gives Apple Music a competitive advantage by being embedded into Apple’s ecosystem of devices and services. According to a stock market news article, Apple Music currently has over 60 million paying subscribers as of June 2019.

Honorable Mentions

While Spotify, YouTube Music, and Apple Music are the most popular music apps today, there are several other noteworthy apps that also have strong user bases:

Pandora is one of the original music streaming services, launched in 2000. It pioneered the music recommendation engine, using algorithms to create personalized radio stations based on a user’s tastes. Though it has declined in popularity compared to Spotify, Pandora still has an estimated 63 million monthly active users as of 2022.

SoundCloud is a popular platform for independent and emerging artists to share their music. It has an estimated 30 million monthly active users. SoundCloud offers a mix of major label tracks, indie music, and original recordings uploaded by unsigned artists. It has carved out a unique niche in the industry.

Amazon Music has grown to reach about 30 million monthly active users in early 2022. It comes bundled with an Amazon Prime subscription and focuses on offering an extensive catalog of songs for on-demand streaming. Amazon has leveraged its smart speakers like Echo to promote its music service.

Audacy, formerly known as Entercom, is one of the largest radio broadcasters in the U.S. and operates over 230 local radio stations. The Audacy app allows users to stream live radio and enjoy on-demand shows and podcasts from their lineup of stations and programs.

Key Features of Top Apps

The most popular music apps like Spotify, YouTube Music, and Apple Music have several common key features that users love. These include:

Streaming music catalogs – All the top apps provide access to vast libraries of songs, albums, and artists to stream instantly. For example, Spotify has over 70 million tracks, while YouTube Music provides official songs, albums, thousands of playlists and artist radio (Source 1).

Playlists and radio stations – Users can browse premade playlists for any mood or activity, as well as create their own custom playlists. Personalized radio stations based on favorite artists, songs or genres are also available. According to Source 2, over 2 billion playlists were created by Spotify users in 2019.

Offline listening – The ability to download songs, albums or playlists to your device for offline listening when you don’t have an internet connection is a hugely popular feature. Spotify Premium users can download over 10,000 songs for offline listening.

Podcasts – In addition to music, leading apps are expanding into podcasts. Spotify has over 1.5 million podcast titles, while Apple Music has over 100,000. Users can browse, stream and download podcast episodes alongside their music library (Source 1).

User Demographics

Spotify has more female users at 56% compared to 44% male users, based on surveys conducted in 2021 (Businessofapps, 2023). The majority of Spotify users are between 18-29 years old. In the US, 35% are aged 18-29, 29% are 30-49, 21% are 50-64, and 15% are 65+. Spotify also has strong penetration among teens, with 37% aged 16-19 using the platform.

YouTube Music appeals to a slightly younger demographic, with 43% of users aged 18-29 globally according to Statista data from 2021 (Musicalpursuits, 2023). About 29% of YouTube Music listeners are aged 30-49. Geographically, YouTube Music has very high usage in India and Indonesia. Over 800 million users in China use Tencent’s music apps.

Apple Music users tend to be younger, with 50% aged 16-34 based on surveys in 2022 (Businessofapps, 2023). Their audience also skews slightly more male at 56%. Apple Music has been rapidly growing subscribers in recent years, especially by targeting younger demographics.

Future Outlook

The music app industry is expected to see continued growth in the coming years. According to source, the global music app market is projected to rise at a considerable rate between 2023 and 2030. Key factors driving this growth include the proliferation of smartphones and mobile internet access, as well as streaming services expanding into new markets.

In terms of predictions for growth, the music app market is forecast to reach $27.71 billion by 2024 and continue climbing to $34.75 billion by 2029, representing a CAGR of 4.63% (source). Driving this growth is the popularity of on-demand and ad-supported streaming among younger demographics.

As for emerging competitors, newer entrants into music streaming like Resso, Triller, and ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company) are vying to take market share, particularly in emerging markets. These apps are focused on social interaction and short form video, representing potential competition to established players like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music. Other emerging competitors include regional players gaining traction in specific countries.


To recap, the top 3 most used music apps based on number of active monthly users are Spotify, YouTube Music, and Apple Music.

Spotify leads among the top apps with over 422 million monthly active users. Its popularity stems from its large music library, curated playlists, social sharing features, and availability across various platforms. YouTube Music takes second place, leveraging YouTube’s massive video library and Google’s technology. Apple Music has carved out a successful niche too, appealing most to iOS/Mac users wanting to integrate music across their Apple devices.

Key takeaways for readers are that Spotify continues to dominate as the leading pure-play music streaming app. YouTube Music offers unique video integration, while Apple Music best serves those in the Apple ecosystem. All three apps deliver extensive catalogs and personalized recommendations to satisfy most mainstream music listeners. The availability of free ad-supported tiers on Spotify and YouTube Music also aids their widespread adoption.

While competition remains strong, Spotify retains its advantage for now as the editing platform for audio content discovery and consumption. However, the continued growth of YouTube Music and Apple Music indicate the race for top music apps still remains tight.


This article was written based on the author’s knowledge and experience using music streaming apps. No direct sources were cited.

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