Business News Digital

Apple Music and Spotify neck-and-neck in the US

By | Published on Monday 9 July 2018

Apple Musicaccording to the Financial Times. This contradicts a Digital Music News report last week that said Apple Music had already pulled ahead.

In February this year, the Wall Street Journal predicted that the Apple streaming service would outgrow Spotify in terms of premium users in America at some point this summer. Apple Music’s US growth was running at 5%, it said, compared to 2% for Spotify’s .

Now the FT says that Apple Music has between 21 million and 21.5 million US subscribers, compared to 22 million and 22.5 million for Spotify. A year ago, the gap between the two services was four million subscribers.

It seems likely that Apple will out perform Spotify Stateside in the very near future, and that gap may grow more significant by the end of the year. While Spotify remains the market leader worldwide by some distance, slipping behind in the US will be of concern. It was in New York that Spotify chose to list on the stock market earlier this year, of course, and therefore US performance is likely to be of particular interest to investors.

You could ask why this didn’t happen a long time ago. Launched three years ago with a massive captive market of iPhone users, it could be said that Apple Music should have overtaken Spotify on day one. Although Apple has to an extent focussed on more mainstream music fans, who have perhaps taken longer to convince of the merits of ten dollar a month streaming.

Spotify was also something of a latecomer in the US when compared to its presence in Europe, launching there in 2011 and immediately facing tough competition from established domestic services, in particular the free-to-use personalised radio set-up Pandora.

Now, as the focus remains on Spotify and Apple, Amazon has quietly become the third most popular on-demand streaming service. Use of its music services has been growing rapidly, especially in the US, thanks to the free version being pre-loaded on the company’s Alexa-controlled smart speakers.