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Apple Music’s US subscribers to pass Spotify’s by the summer

By | Published on Tuesday 6 February 2018

Apple Music

Apple Music is set to have more subscribers in the US than Spotify by this summer, according to the Wall Street Journal. The business newspaper reports that Apple’s American growth rate now stands at 5%, compared to 2% for global market-leader Spotify.

Given Apple’s massive marketing budget and captive audience of hundreds of millions of iPhone users worldwide, it’s a bit embarrassing for Apple that it isn’t dominant in the streaming market already. If it passes Spotify’s US subscriber number at the point expected, it will have taken three years since launch to surpass it’s main competitor in its home market.

Meanwhile worldwide, Apple Music continues to trail it’s albeit older rival by quite a margin. An Apple spokesperson confirmed to Variety yesterday that its streaming service now has 36 million paying subscribers worldwide, while Spotify announced that it had passed 70 million premium users last month.

If Spotify’s free users are also bundled into the mix, then its userbase far exceeds Apple’s, which does not offer a free tier (apart from lacklustre radio station Beats 1).

Spotify is particularly dominant in the European market, where it originally launched in 2008. It was made available Stateside in 2011 but initially struggled to compete against existing streaming services there, in particular the free-to-access personalised radio set-ups like Pandora and iHeart Radio. Pandora in particular had a massive head start in the American market, mainly due to it being able to rely on a compulsory licence there.

Of course, any news that skews negative towards Spotify just now could impact on its impending stock market listing. By it listing itself in New York, investors will be particularly aware of the service’s performance in the US market, and possibly less aware of what is happening across the Atlantic in countries where Spotify totally dominates.

In other news, music journalist Alex Gale has been named Apple Music’s new Head Of Editorial. As well as overseeing written content on Apple Music and iTunes, he will also be involved in some capacity in video and Beats 1.