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 140 million
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

joeykingpin Avatar
50 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)
dasmb Avatar
50 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)
Sunny1990 Avatar
50 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)
ktecac Avatar
50 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)
dasmb Avatar
50 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)
Jimmdean Avatar
50 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)

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