This Week in Apps #138 - Everyone's Breaking Records!
This Week in Apps is a short, no-fluff, round-up of interesting things that happened in the mobile industry. Here are our top highlights.
U.S. Revenue Index (30 Day)
1. Amazon's New Play for Music Streaming
Spotify and Apple Music are the most popular destinations for music streaming these days (even though Pandora is one of the highest-earning apps in the US). There are other names you may have seen when exploring music streamers, but Amazon Music, which launched all the way back in 2012, isn't likely to be one of those.
Well, Amazon is (finally) trying to change that!
Last week the service unlocked a catalog of 100M songs and podcasts, which is an important tidbit I'll get back to later, to every Prime subscriber.
Some day they did it to justify Prime's 17% price hike. It could be that they're running out of ways to grow Prime, or maybe they're trying to unmiss a missed opportunity.
Whatever it is, it seems to be working!
According to our App Intelligence, downloads of Amazon Music, which changed its icon last week, grew 34% on Tuesday, giving Amazon Music its best day of downloads, ever!
Daily downloads rose from an average of 120K in October to more than 160K on Tuesday. That's across the App Store and Google Play combined, but the majority of the growth is coming from the App Store right now. I expect Google Play to catch up slowly as well.
For a brief moment, Amazon Music even got close to Spotify in terms of downloads in the US App Store.
Amazon has made a lot of moves related to content this year. Hits and misses, mostly misses, which is why I'm not expecting this trend to continue, but there are two reasons it might:
- Music, unlike movies and shows, is still not something streamers are creating, making Amazon's catalog just as good as Apple's and Spotify's, but free(er). That's sure to claw at the competition.
- Original content for music streamers comes in the form of podcasts these days, and Amazon's press release used a lot of words to talk about podcasts, making me believe they're looking for their Joe Rogen right now. They might find one.
Amazon's track record isn't amazing so this is all a big question mark, but for now, free/included with Prime is sure to annoy the competition.
2. YouTube's About to Lock In Its App Store Revenue Lead
YouTube has become one of my main channels for acquiring knowledge and entertainment these days. In other words, it's what you'll find me watching when I'm sitting on my couch.
And since I don't like ads I happily pay for YouTube Premium.
Looking at the App Store's Top Grossing chart, I'm not the only one -- YouTube has been one of the most sticky apps on the chart.
Last week they announced they want to cement their place on the chart even more, I mean, YouTube announced the price of Premium is going up, which will make it even easier for the app to keep its top-grossing place forever and ever.
I'd normally look at revenue over time to see just how much it grew, but YouTube has been one of the highest-earning apps for so long that there isn't much interesting to look at. Lots of money. Great.
Instead, I want to look at something else, so I asked Josh, our head of data science and the one who tipped me to the increase, to run through all of our top-grossing ranks data and rank the top apps by the number of days they spent at the top of the chart this year.
The results were a little different than what I expected.
YouTube had the most days as the #1 top-grossing app in the US App Store this year. 235 days so far this year (out of a total of 300 since the year isn't over yet). While high, that wasn't a real surprise.
What is surprising is that not a single app or game managed to get close!
TikTok, YouTube's chief rival, managed to snag 17 days in the lead. A tiny fraction when compared to the red monster. ESPN, which swings a lot when it comes to revenue, spent just 12 days in the top spot.
Even if you add up the rest you won't get anywhere near YouTube's total. And now that the price is going up, expect those others to have even less of a chance.
FYI - Did you know I have a YouTube channel where I talk about apps? If you prefer watching over reading head there and subscribe.
3. Twitter's App Revenue Grew in October, But...
October is behind us, which means it's time to take a look at Twitter's in-app revenue. This month is a bit special - it's the last in the pre-Elon era. I hope that also means November will see a big increase in revenue because October wasn't great.
More on what I expect to come after we talk numbers.
We estimate that net revenue grew to $580K in October, a bump of roughly 7% compared to September. And net means what Twitter gets to keep after paying Apple and Google their fees.
That's good news for Twitter because last month the total went down for the first time ever. So that's not a trend, and that's good. But it's also not good because it's a really tiny increase. Snapchat+ did that in under a day with its no-longer-new in-app purchase which isn't even all that exciting.
I've been talking about how unexciting Twitter's paid offering is and how they aren't incentivizing creators for about a year now, and not much has changed.
Everything changed this week as Iron Man took over Twitter, and I expect this total to change drastically as a result. It might be wishful thinking, but Elon Musk has a track record of taking things and making them bestest in a way no one else has, and I see that happening with Twitter as well.
I've been on Twitter for over 13 years and seen it evolve in different ways under different chiefs. The evolution it needs now is to its business model, and I think Elon and Jason can do it. The foundation is there, the audience is there, the tools are lacking.
I'm bullish on Twitter under Elon and am looking forward to seeing how it'll evolve.
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4. Mastodon Sees Downloads Soar After Elon Took Twitter
Elon's takeover of Twitter prompted some users to look for an alternative. While there isn't a true replacement for Twitter, one of the most similar alternatives is Mastodon, a distributed platform that's not owned by anyone.
I'll explain what that means and why it isn't a true replacement in a minute, but first, let's look at what Mastodon's app saw this week.
Before last week, Mastodon was a fairly unpopular app getting only a handful of downloads every day. Less than 500, according to our estimates.
Our App Intelligence shows Mastodon was downloaded a total of 9.5K times in 2021, the year it was launched.
Last week everything changed!
Downloads rose sharply and crossed 44K last Friday, as news of the acquisition broke. By the following Tuesday, Mastodon was downloaded more than 185K times.
That's an increase of 1,847% from all of 2021, and in just five days.
The trend sloped down though, and I expect it to continue sloping down because Mastodon isn't a replacement for Twitter.
The whole idea behind Mastodon is that no one entity owns the platform. Instead, Mastodon is a protocol for a platform that can be run by anyone on any server, anywhere.
Interesting in theory but for most users, means you'll likely join someone else's server and only have access to people on that server + the platform you will use will still be owned by someone. Truth Social uses the Mastodon protocol to run on its own server. Not a replacement.
The current hype is what's causing this increase in downloads, not real demand. I don't expect downloads to remain high.
5. Taylor Swift Gave Ticketmaster a Brand New Record!
Taylor Swift made history last week by taking over all Top 10 songs on Billboard Hot 100 with her new album. She's the first artist to do that. Ever.
She also announced a new tour and gave her VIP fans a way to register to buy tickets to the tour early. Yes, she's that popular you have to register for the presale.
Guess where that registration took place? Ticketmaster.
As you'd expect, Ticketmaster's downloads rose thanks to this campaign. But you may not know that this campaign also resulted in the highest day of downloads for Ticketmaster. Ever.
Downloads rose to 164K on Tuesday, according to our estimates, a 993% increase compared to downloads in January of this year.
2022 has been a good year for Ticketmaster. It ended 2020 with a loss of nearly all new downloads, and that trend continued into the first part of 2021. Downloads grew later in 2021 as things opened up, and slowly showed signs of full recovery in 2022.
Even with this rise, Taylor's tour still managed to give Ticketmaster its best day ever. Not just post-covid. The previous all-time best was back in April, with 112K downloads.
By the way, Ticketmaster's infrastructure failed during this registration event. Par for the course these days...
It's been a while since I looked at IRL apps now that things have mostly gone back to normal. But one trend continues - everyone is doing more from their phones. Ticketmaster's pre-covid downloads averaged 23K per day. In September of this year, they averaged 60K. Even without the Swifties.
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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.