QoD: What is the most popular music streaming service?

Nov 25, 2019
Question of the Day, Behavioral Finance, Budgeting

Answer: YouTube


  • What is your go-to source for music? 
    • What do you like most about it?
    • How much do you pay for it? 
  • How does YouTube compare to Spotify or Pandora when it comes to music streaming?
  • What would be your cost in time/money if you wanted to switch from your current streaming service? 

Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers: (Washington Post)

Not Spotify, not Apple Music, not SoundCloud. Definitely not Tidal, Pandora or Amazon. For young listeners, YouTube is their radio (widely accessible), their record store (awesomely vast), their MTV (partly retinal), their Walkman (completely portable), their iTunes (on demand), their online message board (comments abound) — all in one place. And the numbers bear it out. One billion visitors come to YouTube for music each month, according to Google. What a bizarre triumph for a company so eager to obsolesce our televisions. As the streaming wars rage into the future, a site that never really intended to become a music platform accidentally became our most visited, most variegated music platform.

Many musical encounters on YouTube begin with curiosity. Type some keywords into the search bar, listen to what you came for, then allow the algorithm to whisk you off to wherever it chooses. You pick the starting point, then you float. Get bored, start over. All the while, YouTube’s Google-powered algorithm is trying to figure out your tastes, even when it’s pushing you toward things other than music.


Check out this FinCap Friday "The Endless Stream" on the multiplicity of streaming services. 

About the Authors

Beth Tallman

Beth Tallman entered the working world armed with an M.B.A. in finance and thoroughly enjoyed her first career working in manufacturing and telecommunications, including a stint overseas. She took advantage of an involuntary separation to try teaching high school math, something she had always dreamed of doing. When fate stepped in once again, Beth jumped on the opportunity to combine her passion for numbers, money, and education to develop curriculum and teach personal finance at Oberlin College. Beth now spends her time writing on personal finance and financial education, conducting student workshops, and developing finance curricula and educational content. She is also the Treasurer of Ohio Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.