Spotify dealt major blow as Apple Music set to overtake it in paid US subscribers

Apple's focus on music downloads meant it was a little late to the music streaming business, but it seems the delay hasn't harmed its chances of being number one. 

Figures obtained by the Wall Street Journal suggest that Apple Music might be about to overtake Spotify in the US to have the most paid subscribers in the US.

Globally, Spotify still has the lead with 70 million subscribers versus Apple Music's 36 million, but the development will be a big win for Apple's music service. 

A difference in models

According to the numbers, the shift is unsurprisingly due to occur because of Apple Music's higher growth rate than Spotify at 5% month-on-month versus Spotify's 2%. 

But it's hard to do a like-for-like comparison between the growth rate of the two services because of their subtly different business models. Apple Music has a three-month free trial compared to Spotify's 30 days, and doesn't offer a free tier of service. 

It's likely that the upcoming launch of the HomePod will further spur growth in Apple Music's subscriber numbers. News emerged last week that the upcoming speaker won't support Bluetooth streaming, which will be a blow to Spotify users on Android devices without access to AirPlay. 

Last year we were skeptical of a report that Apple Music had 10 million more users that Spotify, but this latest news suggests that the two are now far more evenly matched in the States. 

Meanwhile there are still massive differences in the popularity of streaming services across the world. Globally Spotify is still dominant, but surprisingly Deezer has the lead in France, where it's based, and other services have their own pockets of popularity. 

Jon Porter

Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.