Apple Music Officially Overtakes Spotify in U.S. Paid Subscriptions

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Apple has reportedly overtaken Spotify as the music streaming platform with the most paid subscribers in the United States.

The notable shift occurred earlier this year, sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal and Reuters. In February, for example, Apple Music had more than 28 million paid U.S. subscribers, compared to Spotify’s 26 million paid U.S. subscribers.

This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard about Apple Music outpacing its closest competitor in the U.S. Last year, Digital Music News reported a similar story — indicating that Apple Music was then “a hair ahead” of Spotify.

While its dominance is restricted to the U.S. currently, the WSJ notes that Apple Music is also starting to see increasing growth in other regions, too.

“Apple Music is growing faster globally — at a rate of about 2.4% to 2.8%, compared with Spotify’s 2% to 2.3% — and the gap is starting to close in other markets outside the U.S.,” the WSJ reported.

It’s worth noting that the subscriber counts only include paid subscribers. That’s an important distinction when comparing Apple Music to Spotify. Spotify offers a free, ad-supported subscription tier. Apple Music has no free tier — but it does offer various trial subscriptions.

When you look at the total user base, Spotify would likely have many more users. Globally, Spotify also likely has more paid subscribers in total. In its most recent earnings report, the service indicated that about 67 million of its paid subscribers resisted outside of North America.

Still, Apple Music’s growth is impressive. And its expansion lines up with the Cupertino tech giant’s broader services ambitions. Last month, Apple debuted a slate of new services, including Apple News+, Apple TV+, and Apple Arcade.

In early 2018, the WSJ predicted that Apple Music’s paid subscriber count would surpass Spotify’s. That has, of course, already happened. But Spotify’s attractive bundle options allowed it to stay in the lead for a while longer.

Apple Music, for its part, doesn’t offer any bundle options with third-party platforms. But there have been previous rumors of a combined Apple Music, Apple TV and Apple News subscription. That could mean that a bundled first-party Apple services option may be on the way.

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