Spotify vs. Apple

The chart below shows which brands received most Earned engagement from Entertainment influencers:

There are a number of stories in this data:

But the story that jumps out is the battle between Spotify and Apple.

We can break down the drivers of engagement by account. Here we are looking at inbound @mentions from all influencers:

This shows that Apple’s performance is driven by the @applemusic account. There are two interesting dynamics here:

  • While @applemusic is mentioned by fewer posts from fewer accounts than @spotify, they are bigger accounts with more followers.
  • @applemusic does relatively better on Weighted Engagement. This means that when accounts mention Spotify they tend to mention other accounts alongside it, while when they mention Apple they tend to do so exclusively. (Here’s a previous blog post with more information about Weighted Engagement).

Apple’s inbound engagement has been growing since January, and leapt in August:

This post by Ariane Grande, from the 17th August, launching her Sweetener album, exemplifies Apple’s strategy:

View this post on Instagram

@beats1official @applemusic ♡ this am

A post shared by Ariana Grande (@arianagrande) on

This principle of cultivating a network of inbound mentions applies to any brand active on social media. What differs is the type of person in the network. While Apple is interested in artists, in other industries:

  • Hair brands should cultivate hairdressers
  • Spirits brands should cultivate bartenders
  • Car brands should cultivate dealerships
  • etc.

Then any brand might choose a specific audience depending on their positioning. For example watch brands might work with golfers.

Recently Apple has been gaining share in the music streaming market. This performance is reflected in the share price of both companies, with Apple growing, and Spotify declining from their July peak:

Apple’s Earned engagement is 5x as big as their Owned, which is a typical ratio for successful brands, and shows the importance of Earned to the overall marketing footprint.

If you want to know how you are doing, and how you could improve, don’t hesitate to get in touch.