The music streaming competition just got more interesting

The music streaming competition just got more interesting
There is no shortage of players in the music streaming space and the metrics used to determine success are also pretty complex, but from one (albeit narrow) metric Apple Music just passed Spotify, but it's too early to say for sure what this means for either company. Even so, it appears to cement Apple Music as a major player in the music streaming space.

Apparently, in the month of February, Apple Music passed Spotify in terms of paid U.S. users for the first time ever. Apple Music counted 28 million paid subscribers in the U.S. while Spotify had just 26 million, and Apple Music had a faster growth rate than Spotify. That seems good, but for full context there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, Apple Music doesn't even have a free tier for subscribers, so that 28 million is essentially the entire U.S. userbase for Apple Music (not counting anyone on a free trial.) Spotify does have a free/ad-supported version and taking that into account, Spotify does have more users in the U.S. than Apple. The ad-supported tier doesn't generate as much money for Spotify but it does add up.

Beyond all that, we're sorry to say but the U.S. is only one country in the world and Spotify has almost twice as many paid subscribers globally as Apple Music does (98 million to 50 million as of December). And, that gap gets considerably bigger once you include the ad-supported tier which bumps Spotify's userbase to more than 200 million.

Of course, music streaming is Spotify's entire business, whereas Apple Music is one service offered by the behemoth. Any paid subscribers Apple gets is just gravy, whereas that's the lifeblood of Spotify. Still, it's something to keep an eye on going forward.

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9 Comments

1. KingSam

Posts: 1481; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

I hope with Apple's service push they start treating other countries that aren't the US better. Most apple services are sloppy or don't work outside the US. Nothing works in Jamaica. Literally everything isn't supported in my region smh. I'm know there are legal aspects for everything but they can improve.

2. wickedwilly

Posts: 727; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

This is a vital point reviewers miss, many features which push iPhones scores up are just not available or as useful in most parts of the world. iMessage is a great example of this.

3. iloveapps

Posts: 877; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

This is what spotify smoking apple in EU lawsuit. Apple music is reigning now. And with this new services from apple where they could bundled it, many will get on. Netflix is the next, it started with their technicalities about apple devices not capable of airplay 2

4. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

So being that Microsoft got hit with an anti trust suit for bundling Internet Explorer and stealing users away from NetSpace because who would install a secondary app when it's bundled on the PC, how is Apple Music any different? I'm not clear on how they're skirting anti-trust.

6. domfonusr

Posts: 1088; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

Even if you have an iPhone, you are not stuck having to use Apple Music... you can just use iTunes, and not subscribe to any subscription music service at all, or you could even download Spotify if you prefer it. Now, Apple's policies on their app store cause Spotify to be at a disadvantage, which many see as unfair, but, as usual, it is still debatable in certain circles. I don't know if that is enough to get them out of hot-water in terms of anti-trust laws, but it is something to consider, either way.

5. toukale

Posts: 652; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

The problem for spotify is that Apple is winning the fight that matters to their bottom line. Apple is winning the users with the most buying power (North America, EU). A typical from those regions will pay $120 per year for the service. A user from Africa, India etc. will pay about $18 per year for the same service. Not every users are the same, some of more valuable than others. On top of that, you can bet of the 26 million paying spotify users in the US, most are on the Apple platform. Which is why they file that complain with the EU. If Apple ever take music streaming seriously and really go for it, they can hurt spotify really badly.

7. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2255; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Much of Appleā€™s growth may come from VERIZON on their relationships with carriers. I love having $9.99 being paid by VERIZON monthly for having their Beyond Unlimited plan. If Apple reaches out to TMO, ATT, and Sprint. Game over for Spotify.

8. domfonusr

Posts: 1088; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

Just remember that Verizon is, at a minimum, passing their costs along to the consumer. I would assume that Apple has offered Verizon a service volume discount on Apple Music services, so chances are that Verizon users are getting the Apple Music service for less than the $9.99 it costs regular subscribers, but I am sure that Verizon builds that cost into the price of their service plans... so consumers ARE paying for it, in the end, in some sense. There is no such thing as a 'free lunch', especially where Apple is concerned.

18. Ichimoku

Posts: 173; Member since: Nov 18, 2018

The only reason I choose apple music is their playlist. It feels just really right for me.

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