Spotify Continues to Grow Faster Than Apple Music Thanks to Free Tier

Spotify today announced it now has over 140 million subscribers worldwide, including users that only listen to the free ad-supported tier.


Spotify last said it had over 100 million subscribers in June 2016, so it has gained around 40 million listeners in one year to remain the world's largest streaming music service. Spotify didn't update its number of paying subscribers, which stood at over 50 million worldwide as of March 2017.

By comparison, Apple at its Worldwide Developers Conference last week announced that Apple Music now has 27 million paying subscribers, just weeks before the streaming music service turns two years old. Apple Music doesn't have a free tier, and Apple doesn't regularly disclose how many users are using the free trial.

Last year, Spotify vice president Jonathan Forster said Apple Music has helped, not hurt, their business by raising the popularity of streaming music services overall. He added that, at the time, Spotify was growing more quickly and adding more users since Apple Music launched, a trend that appears to be continuing.

"It's great that Apple is in the game," Forster told Reuters. "They are definitely raising the profile of streaming. It is hard to build an industry on your own."

While many artists remain critical about Spotify's free ad-supported tier, longtime holdout Taylor Swift reversed course last week and made her catalog of music available on most streaming music services. Swift's music was previously exclusive to Apple Music, only after Apple agreed to pay artists during its free trial period.

Spotify's revenue grew more than 50 percent, to $3.3 billion last year, according to the company's latest financial statement. The company has committed to spending more than $2 billion in payments to record labels over the next two years.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
39 months ago
I am an Apple diehard, but I must admit that Spotify offers a much better user interface for paid subscribers. I finally dropped Apple Music last month and won't return until they make some improvements.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago

the only reason Spotify has had the success they have had is due to millennials wanting everything for free.

The 50 million paying users of Spotify know you are wrong, but then so do you. What we don't know is why you say it anyway.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago
No need to make it a race with Spotify. Just make a better service and everybody will be happy.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago
Spotify is still the better music service in my opinion.
Not only is the interface better but I can use it on literally almost any device. PS4, PC, browsers, etc
However if Spotify can't make money they won't continue, so I hope Apple Music does improve.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago
"Thanks to free tier."

Um -- how about thanks to being a much better service? Apple Music has high latency for playback, browsing and search, a much worse user experience overall and no sharing music or playlists with Android or desktop users.

And then there's the Spotify AI, such as Discover Weekly, which are uncanny. I am delighted weekly by new music in my Discover Weekly playlist.

Meanwhile, Apple Music is the SkyMall of music services.

As a lifelong music fan, Spotify is in my opinion far underpriced for the experience it delivers. The best human and AI curated discovery. The best selection. Great sound quality and low latency service. Best of all, it doesn't take over my personal music library and occasionally block access to it just to market itself -- which is my only experience with Apple Music since the free trial ended. And I barely used the free trial.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago
So more than half in the free tier? That's seems like a huge bubble that's going to burst on them one day...
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple's First MacBook Pro With a Retina Display Will Become 'Obsolete' in 30 Days

Monday June 1, 2020 7:50 am PDT by
If you are still hanging on to a Mid 2012 model of the 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina display, and require a new battery or other repairs, be sure to book an appointment with a service provider as soon as possible. In an internal memo today, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has indicated that this particular MacBook Pro model will be marked as "obsolete" worldwide on June 30, 2020, just over...

Tim Cook Addresses George Floyd's Death and Ensuing Protests and Riots as Apple Temporarily Closes Some U.S. Stores

Sunday May 31, 2020 8:04 pm PDT by
Amid unrest in numerous U.S. cities following last week's killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Apple CEO Tim Cook has shared an internal memo with employees (via Bloomberg) addressing the pain that many are feeling and urging others to commit "to creating a better, more just world for everyone." Cook also announced that Apple is making donations to several groups challenging...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.5 Supplemental Update With Security Fix

Monday June 1, 2020 10:56 am PDT by
Apple today released a supplemental update for macOS Catalina 10.15.5, the fifth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October 2019. The supplemental update comes a week after the release of the macOS Catalina 10.15.5 update. ‌macOS Catalina‌ 10.15.5 is a free update that can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the System...

iOS 14 Again Said to Be Compatible With All iPhones Able to Run iOS 13

Monday June 1, 2020 2:08 pm PDT by
iOS 14 will be compatible with all iPhones and iPod touch models able to run iOS 13, according to information shared today by Israeli site The Verifier. The compatibility data was allegedly found in a leaked version of iOS 14 and confirmed by what The Verifier says is a "trusted source from the system development process." iOS 13 is compatible with the iPhone 6s and later, with a full...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.5.1 With Fixes for Recent 'unc0ver' Jailbreak Vulnerability

Monday June 1, 2020 9:58 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.5.1, minor updates that come a little over a week after the release of iOS and iPadOS 13.5, major updates that brought the Exposure Notification API, FaceTime changes, mask-related unlocking updates and more. The iOS and iPadOS 13.5.1 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings >...

Mockups Depict iPhone 12 Lineup Sizes, Relocated SIM Tray

Monday June 1, 2020 1:22 pm PDT by
A series of 3D printed iPhone 12 mockups designed based on leaked schematics and info from Apple's supply chain was today shared by Japanese site Mac Otakara, giving us a first look at what we can expect from the 2020 iPhone lineup. Rumors have suggested Apple will release four iPhone 12 models in 2020: A 5.4-inch iPhone 12, a 6.1-inch iPhone 12, a 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro, and a 6.7-inch...

Five Mac Apps Worth Checking Out - June 2020

Tuesday June 2, 2020 2:25 pm PDT by
Apps developed for the Mac often don't receive as much coverage as apps designed for iPhones and iPads, so we have a series at MacRumors that highlights interesting Mac apps that are worth taking a look at. This month's apps are designed to make working from home a little bit easier. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Meeter (Free) - Working from home often...

Apple Music Joins Music Industry's Blackout Tuesday Awareness Campaign

Tuesday June 2, 2020 1:31 am PDT by
Apple Music has cancelled its Beats 1 radio schedule for Blackout Tuesday and is suggesting that listeners tune in to a radio stream celebrating the best in black music. Blackout Tuesday is a campaign organized by the music industry to support Black Lives Matter after Minneapolis citizen George Floyd was killed by police in the course of his arrest. On launching Apple Music, many users...

6.1-inch 'iPhone 12' Production to Begin in July Ahead of Other 2020 Models

Monday June 1, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Volume production of Apple's forthcoming 6.1-inch "iPhone 12" models will start in July-August ahead of the rest of the company's flagship iPhone lineup this year, according to a new report by DigiTimes. Apple is widely rumored to be launching four new ‌iPhone‌ models in the usual September or October timeframe, although supply constraints and delays in production ramp-up could cause a...

Apple Releases tvOS 13.4.6 for Fourth and Fifth-Generation Apple TV Models

Monday June 1, 2020 9:56 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 13.4.6, a minor update to the tvOS operating system that runs on the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models. tvOS 13.4.6 comes a little over a week after the release of tvOS 13.4.5. tvOS 13.4.6, a free update, can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the Apple TV by going to System > Software Update. Apple TV owners who have automatic software ...