What is the maximum number of songs in Apple music library?

Apple Music is a music and video streaming service developed by Apple Inc. First launched in 2015, Apple Music gives users access to over 90 million songs as of 2022. With a huge catalog of music available, many users wonder – just how big is Apple’s music library?

This article provides an overview of the size of Apple Music’s library and the factors that influence how many songs are available. We’ll examine music licensing, library management, audio formats, and more to understand the scope of Apple’s music catalog. The purpose is to give readers insight into the capabilities of Apple Music and the work that goes into curating such a vast music selection.

History of Apple Music

Apple’s journey into the music industry began in 2003 with the launch of the iTunes Music Store. This allowed users to purchase individual songs or albums digitally through iTunes on Mac or Windows computers. As reported by Wikipedia, the iTunes Music Store quickly became the number one music vendor in the United States.

Over the next decade, Apple’s iTunes music catalog grew substantially. According to Yellowbrick, by 2008 the iTunes Store had over 6 million songs available for purchase. By 2014, users could choose from a library of over 43 million tracks.

The immense success of iTunes set the stage for Apple’s next chapter in music. In June 2015, Apple announced the launch of Apple Music, a streaming music platform intended to rival services like Spotify and Pandora. Apple Music officially launched that same month with over 30 million songs available to stream on demand. This marked Apple’s transition into becoming an all-in-one destination for purchasing, downloading, and streaming music.

Apple Music Library Size

According to various reports, Apple Music’s catalog contains over 90 million songs as of 2022. This compares to Spotify’s catalog of over 82 million songs. While the total number of songs differs between the two services, they both offer access to a vast library of music.

Apple is able to offer a huge catalog size in part because of daily additions to their library. Apple has licensing deals that allows them to add thousands of new songs every day. Much of this growth comes from independant artists and labels that upload their music directly to Apple Music via third-party distributors.

However, the catalog size alone does not tell the whole story. While Apple Music touts a larger total number of songs, Spotify argues that they have a greater depth of content when it comes to regional music markets. Spotify operates in over 180 markets globally, while Apple Music is available in under 100 regional stores as of 2022. This allows Spotify to tailor music content to local tastes in more geographic areas.

Overall, Apple Music and Spotify offer similarly extensive libraries with tens of millions of songs. For most listeners, the total catalog size of either service is more than sufficient to fulfill their musical tastes and discovery needs.




Factors Influencing Size

The size of Apple Music’s library is influenced by several key factors. One major factor is Apple’s licensing deals with major record labels like Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group. These deals give Apple Music access to vast catalogs of popular music from household name artists (Apple Music Provider Support). Indie and smaller artists also contribute to Apple Music’s size through distribution via aggregators. Aggregators like CD Baby, TuneCore, and DistroKid allow independent artists to easily get their music onto major streaming platforms like Apple Music. So Apple’s licensing deals with major labels provide a solid foundation of popular music, while aggregators give independent artists a pipeline to add their music to the Apple Music ecosystem.

Music Licensing

Apple obtains the rights to songs on its platform through licenses with record labels, publishers, artists, and songwriters. According to Apple, the company has been a licensee of The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) since January 2021, which allows Apple to reproduce and distribute musical works on its platform. The MLC issues what are known as “blanket licenses” to digital music providers like Apple that cover a vast catalog of musical works all at once, simplifying the licensing process.

Apple has also negotiated direct deals with major record labels like Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group to license their extensive catalogs. Independent labels and artists can also choose to distribute their music through preferred third-party distributors that have deals with Apple, allowing worldwide distribution through the platform.

However, there are some regional restrictions in place. According to Apple, not all music can be streamed or sold in every country due to differences in regional rights. Apple only allows music to be distributed to specific territories where the appropriate rights have been secured. Artists and labels are responsible for ensuring they have the licenses for the territories they wish to distribute to through Apple Music.

Library Management

Apple has developed sophisticated systems to ingest new music into the Apple Music library and maintain the massive collection. When new music is released, whether from major record labels or independent artists, it must be added to the Apple Music servers and databases through an ingestion process. The metadata, audio files, artwork, and other components are indexed so the music can be searched, browsed, and streamed by users.

Apple has deals with all the major record labels and many independents to get new releases added to the Apple Music library quickly on release day. However, smaller independent artists can also submit their music for consideration through tools like iTunes Connect. The ingestion systems automatically process the incoming audio and metadata, while Apple editors review and approve content. If there are any rights issues detected, the tracks may be removed.

In addition to new releases, there is a constant effort to fill in back catalog releases and properly tag older content. Given the vast size of the Apple Music catalog, metadata quality control and enhancing discovery are ongoing priorities. The library is also monitored for unauthorized or infringing uploads.

Overall, Apple Music’s infrastructure supports ingesting, hosting, and delivering over 100 million tracks to subscribers around the world. The library requires 24/7 engineering maintenance and optimization to sustain reliability and performance for users.

Audio Formats

Apple Music offers an extensive library of audio files available in different formats and quality levels for streaming. According to Apple’s support documentation, Apple Music utilizes the Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) to compress audio files losslessly while reducing file size.

In addition to ALAC, Apple Music also supports lossy formats like AAC and MP3, as well as uncompressed formats like AIFF, WAV, and FLAC. When importing music into the Apple Music library locally on a Mac, users can choose from encoding options including AIFF, ALAC, MP3, and WAV (source).

The streaming quality available on Apple Music ranges from standard quality AAC files up to Hi-Resolution Lossless at 24-bit/192kHz for compatible devices. Apple also offers a High-Resolution Lossless tier at 24-bit/96kHz or 24-bit/48kHz quality (source). By supporting both lossy and lossless formats at different quality levels, Apple Music can deliver customized listening experiences for users with different requirements.

Discovering New Music

Apple Music features several ways to help users discover new music based on their tastes. This includes personalized recommendations of songs and artists a user may like, as well as curated playlists and radio stations.

In August 2023, Apple Music launched a new feature called Discovery Station that generates a playlist of songs you haven’t heard before but are based on your listening history and preferences (https://www.theverge.com/2023/8/7/23823577/apple-music-discovery-station-find-new-songs). The algorithm looks at your music tastes and patterns and suggests songs and artists you may enjoy discovering. This provides a more personalized radio-like experience to find new music.

Apple Music also creates personalized playlists for users such as New Music Mix that updates weekly with new song recommendations. There are also human-curated playlists for various genres, moods, activities, and more that can help users expand their musical tastes.

In terms of radio, Apple Music offers artist radio stations that play similar music to particular artists you like. There are also personalized radio stations that adapt based on your listening behavior and likes/dislikes over time (https://techcrunch.com/2023/08/07/apple-music-adds-a-new-algorithmic-station-to-let-users-discover-new-music/).

Overall, Apple Music aims to help users continually discover new content through advanced algorithms, human expertise in curation, and constantly evolving personalization features.

Impact on Music Industry

Apple Music has had a significant impact on the music industry, changing how music is consumed and distributed. One of the biggest impacts has been on revenue distribution from streaming. Apple Music pays rights holders $0.01 per stream in the US, and between $0.003 and $0.008 per stream in other countries (Source). For indie artists, streaming revenue from Apple Music can provide an important income source compared to declining physical music sales. Revenue from Apple Music has also allowed major record labels to invest more in developing new artists.

Apple Music provides opportunities for artists by allowing them to upload their music directly without a label or distributor. This opens up Apple’s large subscriber base as a potential audience. Apple Music’s human-curated playlists like New Music Daily also provide exposure for new and independent artists alongside major acts. Analytics provided in Apple Music for Artists give artists insights into their audience and streaming trends to inform their career strategies. Many artists now time new releases and plan promotion around playlisting on Apple Music and other streaming platforms.

Future Growth

Apple Music’s library is expected to continue expanding rapidly in the coming years. Apple has licensing agreements with all major record labels like Universal Music Group, Sony Music, and Warner Music, allowing Apple Music access to vast music catalogs and new releases (Source). As more artists release music globally each year, Apple Music’s library will grow.

However, Apple faces tough competition from other streaming services like Spotify, which currently has a library of over 82 million songs. Spotify is aggressively trying to expand its catalog size and country reach to stay ahead (Source). Apple will need to ensure its licensing deals allow parity with Spotify’s library to remain competitive. Still, Apple’s strong global brand presence through iPhones gives it an advantage in rapidly growing its subscriber base and revenue.