Apple Music Now Has More Subscribers Than Spotify in U.S.

Apple Music now has more paid subscriptions in the U.S. than popular music streamer Spotify, as the global competition ramps up between the two rivals. According to those familiar with the matter, Apple Music surpassed 28 million U.S. subscribers by February, compared to Spotify’s 26 million subscribers (the figures only include paid subscriptions, not trial users). When including nonpaying music fans of its ad-supported offering, Spotify still holds the lead in the number of overall users in the U.S. To slow Apple’s progress, Spotify recently introduced new promotions, such as a discounted subscription bundle with Hulu.

In addition, “the Swedish company filed an antitrust complaint in Europe claiming Apple abuses its control over the App Store to advantage the iPhone maker’s service, something Apple denies,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

Spotify still holds the No. 1 spot worldwide with 207 million active users. According to the company, 96 million subscribers currently pay for the service or are in a trial period leading to a paid subscription. Apple has more than 50 million worldwide paid subscriptions, but does not offer a free, ad-supported tier like Spotify does.

“The growth of Apple Music is one of the strongest validations yet of Apple’s strategy to increase revenue by selling services across its devices — a shift after decades of focusing on hardware sales,” notes WSJ. “Last week, the technology company announced new subscription offerings for magazines, TV shows and video games.”

Streaming is becoming the most popular method to access music, and is now vital to the recording industry, which is why the growth of subscriptions services is so important. “Apple Music is growing faster globally — at a rate of about 2.4 percent to 2.8 percent, compared with Spotify’s 2 percent to 2.3 percent — and the gap is starting to close in other markets outside the U.S.”

“About 67 million of Spotify’s premium subscribers are outside of North America,” Reuters reports. “Both companies charge $9.99 a month for subscriptions.”