When Apple launched Apple Music
in June 2015, many people thought it would be a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ Apple
would catch up with and eventually surpass Spotify in terms of paid subscribers. Apple’s financial and marketing power combined with an installed base of hundreds of millions of iOS devices seemed like a tough combination to beat for the Swedish music streaming pioneers.
And yet, ever since Apple launched its own streaming service halfway through 2015, Spotify
has managed to keep Apple Music at arm’s length. Going back and forth in announcing new subscriber milestones, the gap between the two has remained rather steady until the end of 2016, always hovering at around 20 million users.
Over the past year however, Spotify has been slowly pulling away from Apple Music, growing its advantage from 20 million subscribers in 2016 to 34 million by early 2018. The Swedish streaming company, reportedly preparing to go public by way of a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange soon, reached 70 million subscribers
in January. Apple recently told The Wall Street Journal
that 36 million people subscribe to Apple Music ahead of the HomePod launch later this week. The Journal also reports that Apple is on the verge of overtaking Spotify in terms of paid subscribers on it its home turf, but that doesn’t take away from Spotify’s accomplishment of keeping its powerful rival at arm’s length for so long.