Apple Music has surpassed rival streaming service Spotify in terms of US paid subscribers, reports The Wall Street Journal. Sources say based on records for the month of February, Spotify is trailing behind Apple Music with around 2 million U.S. subscribers.
Spotify reported it had 96 million subscribers globally as of the end of 2018. Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed publicly in May that Apple Music had crossed the 50 million user base milestone. Though both companies don’t give subscriber data based on region, experts say the recent growth trends are more in favor of Apple.
The rates of growth are the major factor. Apple Music has been adding US subscribers at rates between 2.6 percent to 3 percent monthly whereas its rival Spotify has managed monthly growth rates around 1.5 percent and 2 percent, WSJ reports. Apple is still ahead in the growth rate contest globally, though the difference is narrow. Apple’s global monthly growth rates are between 2.4 percent and 2.8 percent while Spotify is recording between 2 percent to 2.3 percent growth rates monthly.
According to industry sources, Spotify had 26 million US subscribers for the month of February, whereas Apple Music recorded 28 million US subscribers.
This scenario, that Apple Music would overtake Spotify in US subscribers, was predicted by industry watchers as early as February 2018. Back in July 2018, Digital Music News reported learning from a source that both Spotify and Apple Music had 20 million subscribers in the US, with Apple slightly ahead with a few subscribers.
Apple has a few advantages over Spotify
Apple’s music streaming service comes pre-installed on iPhones, and considering that 900 million people around the world are using iPhones, its music market is more widespread. Some cell phone service plans on Verizon, the biggest US carrier, bundles free Apple Music subscriptions – a promotional campaign Apple introduced after Spotify opened an ineffective response. The Swedish company launched promotional campaigns by inking a deal with streaming company Hulu to expand its bundle deal and by partnering with Samsung to make Spotify its default music app. However, Apple’s ad spending by purchasing TV slots during NFL games is more aggressive.
While both company’s plan in the US market is clearly unknown, they are expected to move into more markets. However, Spotify has since filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission against Apple, alleging that the iPhone maker has “unfair” policy around its Apple Store.
According to TechCrunch’s report, Apple hopes to achieve a similar result in the Indian market by slashing service price. The company has reduced its music streaming service cost from 120 rupees ($1.73) to 99 rupees ($1.43) per month. It has also dropped the Apple Music student plan to 49 rupees from its previous 60 rupees. Similarly, Family Plan, which was previously 190 rupees per month, now costs 149 rupees per month.