Apple vs. Spotify (October Data)

In the majority of the months that we’ve been covering the battle for podcast listeners between Apple and Spotify, we’ve seen both companies make serious investments and improvements to gain new users… until September. In last month’s update, we shared that Spotify was the only one who continued to make big moves in the podcasting department. However, it made sense considering that Apple’s new product releases occur most years in September. Yet, here we are detailing the happenings of October and Apple let another month go by without making any podcast countermoves. 

Spotify’s aggressive approach for gaining podcast listeners continues to pay off. During the month of October, they claimed Sweden and Equatorial Guinea. Since we started reporting on this subject – based on the data from Voxnest Audience Network – Spotify has taken European countries nearly every month; Sweden is particularly significant because it’s one of the top countries in the world listening to podcasts (Grit Daily says that 36% of Swedes are listening), plus Spotify’s headquarters are based in Stockholm.


Countries Spotify (green) have take from Apple (purple) since we began reporting on the subject in March.

While this month’s additions aren’t as impressive as other months (Spotify won over six countries in September), we can only predict that the tide will continue to rise for them during the remainder of 2019 as their efforts and intent to focus on podcasts was made crystal clear during October. 

Spotify stock surged 19% at the end of October thanks to the announcement of a surprise profit in Q3. Commentary from both their CEO and CFO made it clear that much of the growth was thanks to podcast listeners on the platform. In fact, CFO Barry McCarthy told CNBC that “podcasts will be as critical to Spotify’s business as the streaming of original shows and movies are for Netflix.” In short… it’s reassurance that Spotify’s has no plans of taking their eyes off of podcast growth.

During the month of October, Spotify was also planning (and then executing in the first days of November) the first worldwide podcast summit for Spotify for Podcasters in San Paulo, Brazil. Some of our team members from Spreaker were asked to attend, and it showcased yet another way that Spotify is seriously prioritizing podcasting.

Of course, Apple wasn’t quiet during the month of October, but they were primarily focused on promoting the launch of Apple TV+, and with it, a slew of original shows. Is this any indication of original content making its way to Apple Podcasts? While they announced plans to fund original podcasts back in July, no other mention of the original content has been made.

We’ll be interested to see if Apple brings podcasts back into focus or if they’re diversifying their efforts because it’s a battle they don’t think they can win. Stay tuned for more updates!

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