Which music services are growing, which are shrinking

Here’s a quick tour of google trends output for a number of music services with an eye for identifying which are growing and which are shrinking. Google trends tracks search interest.  The number 100 represents the peak search interest in these graphs.

Updated (1) (2) (3) – added a number of new charts. Updated (4) – added a summary list

Here’s a quick summary:
Spotify, Soundcloud, Rdio, Songza, SiriusXM, iheartradio, 8tracks, bandcamp, Google Music, Mixcloud, Shazam Muve, Ex.fm, Radionomy, Music Unlimited
Amazon Mp3, Beatport, iTunes, Pandora, Youtube
Slight decline:
Slacker, Jango, Soundhound, xbox music
Rhapsody, Deezer, Grooveshark, Turntable.fm,MOG, Hype Machine, Playlist.com, Walmart, Yahoo Music, Myspace Music, Facebook Music, Zune, Last.fm, Twitter Music, radio.com

iTunes – ITunes looks relatively flat since 2010. Perhaps things will change with their Pandora competitor to be launched this month.


last.fm – Peaked in 2009, has now fallen back to where it was in 2006. The golden age of last.fm is over, sad to say.


Spotify – steady growth since launch in 2009


Pandora – steady growth since 2006. Perhaps leveling off.


Rhapsody  – slow but steady shrinking interest


Rdio – steady growth since 2011 launch, steep growth in the last year


Deezer – steady shrinkage since 2009


Grooveshark – peaked in 2012, now shrinking


siriusxm – strong growth since 2011


iheartradio – strong growth since 2011


Google Music – slow steady growth


Slacker  – slight decline in interest since its peak in 2009


Soundcloud – strong increase since 2009


Youtube  – Youtube has always been one of the most popular destinations for music listeners


Songza – After a pivot in 2011, very strong growth


8tracks – strong growth since 2011




Turntable – after the initial buzz, interest in turntable has declined dramatically.


Mixcloud – strong steady growth since 2009


MOG – peaked in 2012


Jango – peaked in January of this year, but have since dropped to 2010 interest levels


Playlist.com – peaked in 2009, now at its lowest interest since 2007.


soundhound – slightly off from its 2012 peak interest.


shazam – strong steady, rising interest


Beatport – holding steady at 2009 levels


Muve – steady growth since 2011


The Hype Machine – six years of decline


ex.fm – a jagged two year climb


Amazon MP3 – growing until 2011, when it flattens out, and perhaps drops a bit.


Walmart Music – at its lowest point ever


Yahoo Music – Once the biggest destination on the web, now at its lowest point.


Myspace Music – steady decline until there’s nothing left


Facebook Music – the only service where the downward trend started before the product was announced.


Twitter Music –  perhaps the strangest graph at all. Lots of excitement at launch and then, almost instantly … meh.


Zune – bursts of activity with every Zune update, but a steady decline to irrelevance.


xbox music –  modest decline since the October 2012 release, but too early to tell.


Radionomy – I’d never heard of them before, but they are gaining interest, especially in France.


Sony’s Music Unlimited – growing since 2010


Radio.com – Waning interest since 2009


Of course, these search trends are not the same as having an actual measure of activity. Millions of people play music on Spotify or iTunes every day without performing a search. However, until we can get raw user numbers from every music service, this is probably about the closest we can get to understanding which services are growing and which are shrinking.

Leave a comment if you think there are some music listening services that I’ve missed that I should include.

  1. #1 by Anon on September 9, 2013 - 5:38 am

    No SoundCloud here?

    • #2 by Paul on September 9, 2013 - 6:33 am

      Added SoundCloud

  2. #3 by Dan Ayers on September 9, 2013 - 6:03 am

    Wouldn’t Soundcloud merit inclusion here, or is it only licensed/ commercial services? They show a consistent increase since late 2010.
    And (don’t laugh) MySpace? Though their graph doesn’t even show a peak for this year’s relaunch.

    • #4 by Paul on September 9, 2013 - 6:33 am

      Added Soundcloud

  3. #5 by Phil Canning on September 9, 2013 - 10:28 am

    So these graphs simple show how much people search for these services? That doesn’t seem to represent which services are actually increasing revenue. Not very interesting. I don’t “search” for Spotify, but I use it constantly. You also left off Muve Music, which is growing like crazy.

    • #6 by Paul on September 9, 2013 - 11:43 am

      yes – these a trend graphs that show search interest. Indeed, they are not perfect measures, but they do give us some information about which services are attracting interest. Until everyone releases detailed subscriber and visitor info, this is probably one of the better ways to compare trends in growth.

      • #7 by Phil Canning on September 9, 2013 - 4:55 pm

        Also, because google trends is on a relative scale, it really only makes sense to compare 4-5 stores on one graph. Google trends maxes out at 5, so you can’t show all of them.

    • #8 by Paul on September 9, 2013 - 11:47 am

      Added Muve

  4. #9 by Tim on September 9, 2013 - 11:17 am


    • #10 by Paul on September 9, 2013 - 11:40 am

      will add.

  5. #11 by Dóri on September 9, 2013 - 11:54 am


    • #12 by Paul on September 9, 2013 - 2:31 pm


  6. #13 by Lori Miller on September 9, 2013 - 12:26 pm

    What about Amazon mp3 /

    • #14 by Paul on September 9, 2013 - 2:52 pm


  7. #15 by Dan on September 9, 2013 - 2:27 pm


    • #16 by Paul on September 9, 2013 - 2:31 pm


  8. #17 by Jonathan Westerling on September 9, 2013 - 3:43 pm

    How about Radionomy?

    • #18 by Paul on September 9, 2013 - 3:48 pm


      • #19 by Jonathan Westerling on September 9, 2013 - 3:49 pm

        Thanks! We’re in the US since September and launching some products at RAIN. Like they say, “stay tuned”…

  9. #20 by James on September 9, 2013 - 3:57 pm

    Very interesting. I would imagine that all these companies have individual license deals setup with the artists. I’d bet that consolidating down to just a couple services who be more cost effective fore everyone. A Spotify and Pandora merger would be ideal.

    PS. Thanks for the list, I’ve got a handful of services I didn’t know existed to test out now.

  10. #21 by ptrwtts on September 9, 2013 - 5:25 pm

    Great post Paul!

    It’s important to remember that search traffic is a better indicator of growth than traffic. It’s mostly new users who will search for a service, so it’s possible for traffic to be strong, even if growth is going down. For example, Hype Machine’s search volume peaked in 2007, but traffic didn’t peak until 2010 (see quantcast).

    The other point I would add as that the reliability of these graphs is closely linked to popularity. The less data, the less reliable. The “jaggedness” of a graph is probably a better indicator of low search volume than variance in interest (e.g. Ex.fm or Amazon MP3)

  11. #22 by ryanglaspell on September 9, 2013 - 9:02 pm

    While a Google trends isn’t completely indicative of the future success of a company, it is a pretty darn good place to start. This is very interesting. I’m assuming the letters within each graph are when the subject makes headlines on Google.

    Initially I wondered if the frequency of headlines had to do with the amount of interest that was generated, but the graphs seem to tuck that away pretty quickly. Then, I wondered if the length of time that a service has existed had any correlation with its rise or decline, but again that doesn’t seem to be directly related.

    It makes me wonder if the services that are doing well are doing so because of partnership with labels/artists, better interfaces and usability, or a mixture of both. Seeing the big name companies going steady isn’t surprising. It’s the shard increase or decrease of interest in the smaller services that make me wonder at the cause. For example, it would be interesting to view a comparison of Soundhound and Shazam. They are two very similar services that are going in opposite directions.

    Seeing all of the different services, even smaller, less known ones, grouped together and set up in an easy to view way like this makes it easy to view multiple different comparisons, as well as search for a correlation between rises and declines.

    Very cool post.

    Ryan Glaspell

  12. #23 by Chris on September 10, 2013 - 6:24 am

    Music Unlimited?

    • #24 by Paul on September 10, 2013 - 6:45 am

      thanks for the suggestion. Will add.

  13. #25 by Corey on September 10, 2013 - 8:29 am


    • #26 by Paul on September 10, 2013 - 8:59 am


  14. #27 by TS on September 11, 2013 - 11:32 am

    pretty Western focused – no Yala, Saavn, Anghami

  15. #28 by Scott on September 12, 2013 - 1:00 am

    Could you add the graph for eMusic?

  16. #29 by drgeep (@drgeep) on September 13, 2013 - 7:33 am

    Great work!

  17. #30 by DavidB on September 13, 2013 - 2:41 pm

    Grooveshark is a pirate site. Why is it on the list? Or if you want to include pirate sites, why not all the others?

  18. #31 by Clyde Smith on September 13, 2013 - 11:57 pm

    Awesome post!

    Please consider adding Earbits.

    While iTunes Radio does have a search history unfortunately it seems to be mixed in with “radio on itunes” and similar queries that confuse the results.

  19. #32 by James Brooks on September 16, 2013 - 12:34 am

    Last.fm… sad face

  20. #33 by Neil Lall (@nulall) on September 18, 2013 - 9:01 pm

    Obviously these are all meant to serve as a proxy, but I just wanted to point a few specific ones that I think might be particularly skewed:

    1. “Youtube music” – I doubt anyone actually searches for that. More likely “Youtube [SONG NAME]” or just “[SONG NAME]” and then they click on the Youtube link. Although those are obviously somewhat impossible to track.

    2. HypeMachine – could be searched for as “hype machine”, “hypemachine”, or “hypem” – the first is the one you used but also the most generic (just look at the milestone stories that google lists with the graph). Unfortunately, not a great way to fix this either, but since the latter 2 curves are less sharp of a downslope, I hope that they’re the more accurate ones.

    3. Last.fm – I am going to choose to believe that most people nerdy enough to use last.fm are also able to realize that it’s an address, so they just type it in rather than searching for it. Because I don’t want to believe that it’s dying like that (though it probably is).

  21. #34 by Richard Audd on September 23, 2013 - 2:11 pm

    What about CD Baby?

  22. #35 by Andy on September 23, 2013 - 4:13 pm

    How about Live365.com or AccuRadio.com?

  23. #36 by George Koumantzelis on September 23, 2013 - 7:51 pm

    What happened to CDBaby.com, and ReverbNation.com, and Nimbus.com ???

  24. #37 by aeoliankid on September 23, 2013 - 7:52 pm

    What happened to CDBaby.com, ReverbNation.com, and NIMBUS.com ???

  25. #38 by Dayna D Staggs on September 24, 2013 - 9:36 am

    Very Interesting Data on the Music Business Shrinking and Hyper machine Growing….

  26. #39 by Andrew Darwitan on October 14, 2013 - 11:27 pm

    I have a feeling that Grooveshark will stay around for a little longer.

  27. #40 by free itunes free amazon gift card codes 2013 on October 31, 2013 - 3:47 pm

    Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog loading?
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