Apple Music on track to overtake Spotify, become No. 1 streaming service in U.S. this summer

“Apple Music is adding subscriber accounts in the U.S. at a higher rate than Spotify, and is on track to pass the No. 1 streaming service this summer, according to people in the record business familiar with figures reported by the two services,” Anne Steele reports for The Wall Street Journal. “To be sure, Spotify is larger globally and continues to grow slightly faster. But that the No. 2 streaming service is quietly gaining ground in the largest music-subscription market in the world signals Spotify now has significant competition.”

“Apple’s subscriber-account base in the U.S. has been growing about 5% monthly, versus Spotify’s 2% clip, according to the people familiar with the numbers,” Steele reports. “Assuming those growth rates continue, Apple will overtake Spotify in accounts this summer.”

Spotify “has periodically released global subscriber totals and just last month touted a new high of 70 million,” Steele reports. “Apple Music told The Wall Street Journal it now has 36 million, up from the 30 million it last reported in September.”

“By one standard, Apple Music has already passed Spotify. Including people who are still in free or deeply discounted trial periods leading up to paid subscription, Apple Music has a slight edge on Spotify in the U.S., according to one of the people familiar with the figures,” Steele reports. “Apple Music has three to four times the number of such trial users as Spotify, according to this person, in part because it doesn’t offer a free tier.”

“Launched in 2008, Spotify lets users listen to a library of more than 30 million songs on demand,” Steele reports. “Apple Music, introduced in June 2015, allows users to stream from a catalog of 45 million songs or play from their own iTunes library. Spotify is available in 61 territories, including the U.S. Apple Music is available in 115.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Oh ok.

Tick-tock, Spotify.

Spotify is a poor man’s Apple Music. The demographics in this race, as ever, greatly favor Apple in the long run. — MacDailyNews, January 3, 2018

Apple Music and Spotify now account for the majority of music consumption in the UK – January 3, 2018
Spotify files for its IPO – January 3, 2018
Spotify hit with $1.6 billion lawsuit from music publisher – January 2, 2018
Watch out Spotify and Apple Music, here comes Amazon – December 18, 2017
Spotify leads call for investigation into ‘troubling’ Apple and Google app store practices – May 5, 2017
Apple Music passes Pandora and Spotify in mobile usage – March 29, 2017
Spotify hits 50 million paid subscribers – March 3, 2017
Apple Music surpasses 20 million paid members 17 months after launch – December 6, 2016
Oh ok, Spotify listeners are upgrading to Apple Music – July 19, 2015
Spotify CEO claims to be ‘ok’ with Apple Music – June 9, 2015

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. Steve Jobs once said that people want to own their music.

    “The subscription model of buying music is bankrupt. I think you could make available the Second Coming in a subscription model and it might not be successful.”

    Steve Jobs.

    That was a few years ago and maybe perception has changed. So what’s your slant, do you prefer to own or rent music? Advantages disadvantages.

    For myself, I prefer to own my music for the most part but I do find that the subscription model helps introducing people to new music.

    So what’s your slant?

    1. owning your music. I can trust that Apple isn’t going out of business in the next decade and isn’t going to cancel their music service. I can’t say that about any of the others. Apple has earned my trust. They’re not perfect but over a couple decades they’ve done well by me.

      1. Nice post, some insightful stuff, especially for me as I don’t subscribe to a streaming service, I’ve got too much invested in the collection that I own.

        I think the idea of trust is very important and yes, Apple is a very trustworthy company in my opinion. Thanks for sharing.

        1. of music but after using Apple Music for a few months it just became so much more convenient to find music and create playlists with it. Then I download playlists to my iPhone so I can listen offline. if Apple Music didn’t have offline listening I probably wouldn’t use it.

            1. it’s very nice. You can configure a playlist then hit one button to download all the songs. I do that over wifi so I don’t eat up my data.

            2. The primary difference between Apple Music and most other services is that Apple Music allows you to download any and all songs as much as you please. These downloads are slightly different from the ones you get when you purchase songs (they have DRM, and can’t be played if subscription expires, and you can’t use them in your GarageBand or iMovie projects), but for all intents and purposes, they behave in the same way — they are music files stored on your phone, and you can go offline and still play them back. You can stay offline for 30 days without logging back into Apple Music before the files stop playing. If this is your phone (or Mac), authentication is done automatically (as long as the device is connected to the internet), so it is all transparent. Generally, Apple prefers you to stream, rather than download, and streaming is much more convenient, as it doesn’t take up any space on the phone. For the people who don’t have the unlimited data plans for their phone yet, they can always download while somewhere on WiFi, and let their 4G data connection only do periodic authentication (so that the downloaded files don’t expire).

            3. That’s fantastic, I never realized how it works before, and now I just might end up taking a closer look at it. Thanks for the impressive detailed reply predrag.

              I especially enjoyed a practical application that you described in your other post. It is amazing how performances of the same musical piece can be different.

      2. I have a collection of some 300 CDs (mostly classical, some jazz, and a few classic rock, and other stuff).

        I am a big Apple Music convert now. Here’s why.

        I mostly listen to music on the move (on the subway, on the bus, sometimes at work). Literally all CDs that I have at home are also on Apple Music, so in order to have them on my phone, I don’t need to rip them, sync my phone with iTunes on my Mac and upload them to the (somewhat limited) storage memory on my phone. With the virtually unlimited global music library on Apple Music, I can listen to any recording of any classical work at any time I want. If I know I’ll be taking a long subway trip (without internet connection), I’ll simply download the albums to the phone; otherwise, I stream it all (The unlimited all T-Mobile plan has 4GB data cap for 4g bandwidth, but music streaming doesn’t count towards the cap).

        For me, Apple Music is an invaluable tool, one I could never replace with physical buying of music. One example: I was studying the score of Mozart’s “Requiem”, and was curious to compare performances with various conductors. Looking it up in Apple Music, I found over 80 different recordings of the work, from Jordi Saval and his Concert des Nations (ultra-baroque rendering with very small ensemble, clocking in at below 45 minutes), to Karl Böhm with Vienna Philharmonic (both 1956 and 1971 recordings, with over 100 performers, going on for about 1hr 7 mins!), plus everything in between. It was remarkable, comparing these radically different performances of the exact came musical notes! Not to mention finding recordings of alternative orchestrations (such as Franz Beyer’s)…

        For a professional musician, musicologist or conductor, Apple Music is worth its weight in gold, as it were. It is a massive, bottomless treasure chest, at an incredibly reasonable price.

    2. I do both. I buy the ones I really like. I listen to all the ones I might buy.

      My kids used to buy all the time. Way more than 15 bucks per month. Guess who was paying? Yeah, me of course. Now they just stream at a family cost of 15 bucks per month. Meanwhile, I buy whenever I want something.

      1. Well from your perspective it looks like it makes a lot of dollar saving sense, thanks for that.

        Are the same Paul from the Netherlands by the way? If so I really enjoyed one of your posts you made the other day.
        Have a good week.

  2. So you’d think that with the new HomePod commercials ( which you won’t see actually air )
    You’d think Apple would advertise Apple Music.
    I’ve never seen an ad for Apple Music.
    So all the android types would never even
    Know about Apple Music. Why should they ?
    What’s the point. It’s only 90% of the market
    Just saying Apple should advertise these
    Products that could bring non iPhone users into
    Apples supposed ecosystem.
    How pathetic is it that Apple doesn’t have their own version of a YouTube type service like google. but no. Let alone their own dedicated search platform. (Cus Siri needs help ).

    So the stick tanks because anykists feel the product line growth has plateaued yet I just named huge obvious markets that Apple
    Doesn’t exploit ecayse theyre “so cool”
    Uh huh.

    1. They are running the HomePod ads during the Super Bowl. I guess nobody watches that, though.

      I have seen ads for Apple Music. It must have been on another show that nobody watches.

  3. Has Apple Music improved much? I tried it for a few months when it was brand new and again about a year in. It just never found music I liked. I switched to Google Music, which was consistently finding music I like within a day of heavy use. There are downsides to it being less integrated, especially regarding Siri. But I’ve kind of fallen in love with YouTube Red.

    1. I can’t imagine anyone having larger catalogue than Apple. I’m not sure how you used it, but no matter what I try to search for, in Apple Music, I will always find it — any recording, any artist, any label. In all fairness, sometimes the results aren’t as good when your search is a bit off (misspelling of artist names, or of album name, or of track name), but if you know what you want, you will find it all of Apple Music much more likely than on any other service, as Apple has always had by far the largest catalogue of them all.

  4. I’m enjoying it. Kind of fun exploring new music.
    Would have loved to have that opportunity when I was a kid.

    Oh, and that was DEFINITELY a touchdown. 🙂

  5. Apple Music is on track to becoming No. 1 (in paid services; Spotify will continue its reign if you include the add-supported free service), but it will continue to have a problem luring Spotify users because of its interface.

    My children (a teen and a pre-teen) use free Spotify. I have a family subscription to Apple Music. They both tried it and went back to the commercial-infested Spotify. It was simply too much hassle to try and learn the new interface, and it just “didn’t look as cool as Spotify”.

    And they are right; on occasion, I would use Spotify, and there are quite many things that, in Spotify, take fewer mouse clicks (or screen taps/swipes), are more intuitive and easy to find, and the interface simply feels more friendly and simpler.

    Apple Music is carrying the massive baggage of iTunes and its convoluted user interface mess. No amount of re-working and tweaking seems to be able to make it more appealing to the key demographics. Something needs to be radically changed with the UI in order to attract the young crowds.

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