Apple Music set to overtake Spotify in U.S. subscribers

Headphones in front of Spotify logo, February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Apple’s music streaming service is on track to overtake Spotify as the most popular service in the United States, as its subscriber base is growing at a faster rate compared to its competitor.

The forecast is based on Apple’s five percent monthly growth rate, which outshines Spotify’s two percent growth rate in the U.S. With these figures, Apple Music is set to equal, if not overtake Spotify’s popularity in the country by July.

By the end of October, Spotify leads Apple Music with 18.2 subscribers in the U.S., while the California-based company was quickly catching up, with its 15 million subscribers. In 2017, Apple Music is estimated to have added about 6 million subscribers over the entire year, while Spotify added 5.2 million.

However, Spotify will remain the largest streaming service in the world, as the Swedish service boasts a subscriber base that is nearly twice as large as Apple Music’s. As of last month, Spotify had more than 70 million subscribers worldwide, while Apple music had 36 million.

That said, Apple Music’s faster growth and the impending catch-up with Spotify could spell trouble for Spotify’s long-planned public listing. The company is reportedly seeking to go public this year, but it is not clear whether it can compete with other tech giants as a public company. Spotify is expected to launch its first public offering in March of April. Its New York Stock Exchange listing will only be available to institutional investors.

Large companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google are able to operate with slim margins and offer cheap subscriptions, because they sell other products and services, something that Spotify lacks, as its music streaming service is its main product.

Aside from the 70 million paid subscribers, Spotify also has over 140 million unpaid users worldwide. The service is available in 61 markets and has paid over $5 billion to rights holders.