Spotify , Pandora, YouTube Top 10 App Earners In 2016 Proving That Freemium Still Works

CashA new analysis proves just how dominate a player Spotify is. The study of app downloads and app revenue showed that the music streamer was the top earner both in Apple’s App Store and overall (App Store and Google Play) globally in 2016


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Spotify earned more revenue than any other app in Apple’s App store last year, according to a new analysis by SensorTower. Spotify was also #1 in global app revenue for both the App Store and Google Play combined, despite not placing in Google’s revenue top 10.  Pandora was #5 overall globally and #4 in the app store.

A surprise app revenue earner was YouTube at #10. There earnings likely come from both fan payments to creators and subscriptions to YouTube’s fairly new paid offering YouTube Red.

Freemium Does Drive Revenue

YouTube, Spotify and Pandora all have extensive and popular free offerings, which uncharted Apple Music, Napster and Tidal do not. That’s great news, if – as Spotify and YouTube are – you’re sitting across the negotiating table from the major labels. Landing in the app revenue top 10 is a ringing affirmation that freemium (free-t-o-paid-conversions) still can drive revenue. 

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New installs of apps from both stores totaled approximately 19.2 billion in Q4 2016 with there were more than 80 billion app downloads overall during 2016. Downloads were up 17% year over year for the quarter.

When revenue is taken out of the equation, music apps fail to chart.

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