Spotify has announced that it now has 39 million paying subscribers - a figure made even more impressive when you take into consideration the ad-supported free tier it also offers. Just in March, Spotify reported that it had 30 million paying users and 100 million overall - it is now estimated the total number of users is around 125 million.
Apple Music, in comparison, had 15 million paying subscribers in June and was adding around one million a month - which means it should now have roughly 18 million paying users, less than half of Spotify’s. But then Apple Music launched only in June 2015 - Spotify has been active since 2008 (2009 in the UK).
The music streaming service market could be set to change further with the recent announcement from Universal Music Group that it is putting an end to supplying streaming exclusives following the release of Frank Ocean’s latest album Blonde. Ocean released Endless, his last contracted album with Def Jam Recordings, a subsidiary of UMG, as an Apple Music exclusive visual album.
He then released his actual studio album the very next day, on his own label.
Streaming exclusives are one of Apple Music’s biggest draws. If they disappear, the music-streaming service landscape could be blown wide open, with consumers potentially being able to choose any service yet get the same catalogue of music. Whether that works in Spotify’s favour remains to be seen.