Music Streaming Preferences: A South African & Global Perspective

In an increasingly digital world, music streaming has become an important part of life for content creators, marketers and most importantly, streaming service providers. Whether it’s jamming to our favourite tunes during workouts or relaxing with soothing melodies, streaming services have revolutionized how we consume music. In this short article, YouGov South Africa share music streaming habits of both South Africans and global respondents, shedding light on their preferences, attitudes, and sharing behaviours.

South Africa and Global:

Data from YouGov Global Profiles provides valuable insights into how consumers listened to music in the last six months across various countries compared to South Africa.

Paid-for Streaming Services

55% of South African respondents have embraced paid-for streaming services, enjoying a wide range of music and uninterrupted with advertisements sessions. This stat is higher than Norwegians, Mexicans and Swedes. According to YouGov Global[1], 50% of Norwegians respondents have listened to music through paid-for streaming services in the last six months, followed closely (46%) by both Mexicans and Swedes.

The use of paid music streaming services surged in South Africa in 2023, according to a report from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). South Africa remained the region’s largest market, accounting for 77% of SSA income, with music revenue growing by 19.9% in 2023. [2]

Free Streaming Services

43% of South Africans opt for free streaming services, appreciating the convenience and variety they offer. Looking at Global stats, this figure is significantly lower than Indonesians who are the most enthusiastic users of free streaming services, with a high 55% opting for this mode. Thailand (51%) and Finland (49%) also show high usage rates for free streaming.

Looking at South African stats, it’s easy to see that close to one half prefer free streaming services and the other half prefers paid streaming services. Well, there are streaming services that can offer both.

South African Streaming Services

The top five music streaming services for YouGov South African respondents are Spotify, leading the way with 51.87%. YouTube Music follows closely at 43.78% then Google Play Music and Apple Music holding third and fourth place at 27.95% and 26.23%. Amazon Music rounds off the top five with 17.05%.

It is evident that Spotify and YouTube Music are leading the streaming services. According to the Sunday Times, Tyla’s song “Water” has been added to 10 million playlists and streamed 500 million times on Spotify. Since October 2023, the music video for the song has received over 151 million views on YouTube. This excludes the number of times it was streamed on the YouTube Music service. [1]

Attitudinal & Sharing preferences

Looking into music streaming-related attitudinal questions and how likely listeners in South Africa and across markets are to agree with each of them:

“I primarily listen to music through streaming services”

69.5% of South Africans primarily rely on streaming services for their music needs. YouGov data shares that ‘More than three in five Indonesians (62%) agree that they primarily listen to music through streaming services.

“I share my streaming services credentials only to people that are close to me”

More than half (59.21%) of South African respondents state that they share their streaming services credentials only to people they are close to. Globally, Indians follow behind South Africans with 52% of them agreeing with the statement. Turkish respondents follow with 50% and Germans with 48%.

“Video/music streaming services shouldn’t care if I share my credentials/subscription”

Nearly 50% (specifically 49.83%) of the South African respondents believe streaming services shouldn’t be concerned about user credential sharing. Furthermore, 6 in 10 respondents advocate for group subscriptions, urging services to provide more collaborative options. Globally, we see close to equal percentages with Germans (46%) and Mexicans (47%) agreeing that “video/music streaming services shouldn’t care if I share my credentials/subscriptions”, followed by Indians (44%) and Americans (44%) who share the same view.

Shared plans in South Africa are available to family and friends, which start at R89.99 per month and include multiple profiles and personal libraries. Many of the more well-liked choices, such as YouTube Music and Spotify, also provide free subscriptions with more constrained functionality and advertisements.[1]


As the music streaming landscape continues to evolve, understanding regional nuances is crucial for service providers, marketers, and content creators. South Africa’s unique blend of preferences and attitudes offers valuable insights for shaping strategies and enhancing user experiences. Whether it’s paid or free, streaming music has become an integral part of our lives, transcending borders and connecting us through melodies.

Remember, the rhythm of music knows no boundaries—it unites us all, one beat at a time.


Profiles:  Segmentation and media planning YouGov tool. Data is collected daily. YouGov Profiles makes it simple to find and understand the audience that matters most to you. It gives you the power to build and customize a portrait of your consumers’ entire world with unrivalled granularity. More than 12 500 variables are available in South Africa.

Population: South African adults with access to the internet aged 18+.

Data set: 2024-04-14

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[1] Streaming habits: How are people around the world listening to music?

[2-4] Music streaming explosion in South Africa.