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Apple Continues Music Push, but Not Closing Gap on Spotify

Along with its anticipated HomePod speaker announcement on Monday, Apple also announced that it now has 27 million Apple Music subscribers worldwide, meaning it has added 7 million subscribers in 12 months. This consolidates Apple Music as the number two paid-for on-demand music subscription service worldwide. Spotify has approximately twice as many subscribers as Apple Music, announcing 50 million paying subscribers in March, an additional 10 million from 6 months previous. In addition, Spotify has approaching 100 million free users worldwide.

Spotify’s resilience is impressive – many expected a slowdown in growth after Apple Music launched halfway through 2016. At that time, Spotify had just announced 20 million subscribers worldwide. However, it added approximately 30 million more subscribers in the same period Apple Music has accrued its 27 million. 

Spotify and Apple Music combined account for almost 60% of the current approximate 150m total worldwide streaming music subscribers (with the share rising significantly when excluding Asia). Yet, differentiation remains challenging for all services, Apple Music continues to push into original music videos, however, Spotify’s allure continues, as it prepares itself for its inevitable IPO.  

But in this race, you must also consider Amazon’s push for the digital home, as it gathers pace and expands both its service and hardware ecosystem. Uptake of its standalone paid-for music service uptake remains comparatively low, however, its approximate 60 million Prime members across USA, UK, Germany and Japan all have access to a limited selection of ad-free streaming tracks, likely to stimulate a degree of interest in its paid for service, as too will its growing base of Alexa powered speakers.

So, Apple Music’s growth should be applauded, but it is Spotify, which, despite the challenging finances, contract negotiations, increased competition and continued criticism by some in the industry of its free tier, that continues to lead the way, as the go-to music streaming subscription service in many countries worldwide. 

About the author

David Sidebottom

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Here at Futuresource Consulting we deliver specialist research and consulting services, providing market forecasts and intelligence reports. Since the 1980s we have supported a range of industry sectors, which has grown to include: CE, Broadcast, Entertainment Content, EdTech and many more.