Has Apple Music beaten Spotify in US subscriber numbers?
Globally, Spotify is the leading music streaming service with 70 million subscribers, compared to 45 million for Apple Music.
However, according to various reports, Apple has pulled ahead in the United States.
Citing a leaked confidential report, from a major digital distributor Digital Music News says the two stand around 20 million US subscribers each with Apple “now a hair ahead.”
Label executives more specifically predict that Apple Music’s subs sit at 27 million and Spotify at 24 million.
No matter how the figures stack up, Apple’s Stateside climb has been remarkable. It reached 20 million in three years. Spotify entered the US market seven years ago.
Earlier this year, in February, the Wall Street Journal put Apple Music’s growth at 5% a month, and Spotify’s at just 2%, and predicted it would pull away.
It’s also interesting how much the two are making from subscriptions. Apple rarely discounts but Spotify has cut-rate deals, especially for students.
Some analysts suggest that Apple has gone for the serious music lovers who know what they want through Beats 1, while Spotify has targeted “low effort listeners”.
That is, they just press play and enjoy the music. Spotify itself says that 30% of their user’s music consumption comes from songs on its curated or algorithmically generated playlists.
This was, analysts suggest, why in the recent first week sales battle over Drake’s Scorpion, Spotify pulled out the heavy promo guns and only reached 130 million to Apple’s 170 million.
Drake has his own radio show on Beats 1.
Digital Music News reported: “The disparity strongly suggests that Apple is achieving far better user engagement, especially given Spotify’s extreme promotional push for the release.
“It also raises questions of just how ‘active’ Spotify’s 160 million active users are.”
The finance market is expecting strong figures from Apple Music’s expansion into video.
A recent memo from RBC Capital Markets reckons Apple Music’s investment in original TV content alone could more than double its global subscriber base to over 100 million by 2021.
Both Apple Music and Spotify lag behind Sirius XM Satellite Radio, which operates in North America exclusively, and has more than 33 million subscribers.
An interesting aspect about the Digital Music News report is that none of Google’s services rated a mention.
With a slow take-up rate for Google Play Music and mixed reviews for the newly revamped YouTube Music, their report card would read “must work a bit harder.”