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 remarkably steady over the past two years. If anything, Spotify is pulling away from its mighty challenger, as our chart illustrates. In late September, Apple told Billboard that its music service now has 30 million subscribers, putting it at least 30 million short of Spotify, which is reportedly close to reaching 65 million paying subscribers.