Spotify has topped 100 million paid subscribers for the first time – that’s double the number Apple Music reported back in January of this year, suggesting the streaming battle is not as easy as Apple had first envisaged.
In its latest earnings report, Spotify announced its latest figures and revealed that almost half of its subscribers are now paying customers.
Remember that Spotify differs from Apple Music and other streaming services in that it offers a totally free tier of music subscription, but functionality is limited and users have to listen to adverts in between playlist songs.
Spotify’s monthly active users (MAU) grew more than 26% year-on-year to an impressive 217 million but lower than its shareholder guidance of 215-220 million monthly active users.
Premium subscriptions increased to 100 million for the first time, which was up 32% year-on-year, and reached the top end of the company’s shareholder guidance of 97-100 million users, marking an important milestone for the company that has faced significant competition in recent years, not only from Apple, but from Amazon, Google, and TIDAL.
What’s interesting to note, however, is that Spotify acknowledged that its subscriber count was, in part, thanks to a number of generous promotions, like the Google Home Mini promotion, which offered a free Google smart hub for every Spotify Premium Family subscription in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Spotify also offered a price reduction to its Spotify Premium and Hulu offering in the US.
Although Apple Music offers users a six-month free trial, as well as discounts for students and families, Spotify has always offered more generous promotions to capture the attention of paying customers, and some promotions allowed users to sign up for just $1 per month.
Therefore, it’s unfair to directly compare subscribers on Apple Music and Spotify, as not all Spotify users are actually paying the recommended price for their music subscription.
Back in January, Apple announced it had hit 50 million paid Apple Music subscribers, adding more than 10 million from the middle of 2018.
It’s expected that we’ll see an updated figure when the company reports its Q2 earnings later in the week and that 50 million figure will no doubt increase as the company looks to increase its reliance on subscription services.
As the streaming race continues to heat up, it will be interesting to see how Apple reacts to Spotify’s growth – aggressive promotions that tie together Apple Music with its new services, like Apple News+, Apple Arcade, and Apple TV+, could make Apple the frontrunner once more.
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