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Apple Music Reaches 10 Million Subscribers in 7 Months, Still Trails Spotify

by William Hoffman   Jan 11, 2016 10:34 AM EST

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Critics and supporters of Apple Music were unsure how many users would actually stay on board with the service after the three-month trial expired for early adopters, but now the company is reporting an impressive 10 million subscribers paying for the music streaming service just seven months into its existence.  Of course, it still trails Spotify.

A Financial Times source reported the news Sunday (Jan. 10) with Mark Mulligan, music industry analyst with Midia Research saying that at Apple Music's current growth rate, it has "the potential to be the leading music subscription service sometime in 2017."

But, let's put that 10 million figure in perspective first. It's half of the 20 million paid subscribers that Spotify boasts and an even smaller fraction of Spotify's total user base, which comes in at 75 million when you add in the free tier, something Apple Music does not have. According to a Spotify representative who talked with The Verge, "The last half of 2015 was the fastest subscriber growth in Spotify history." While those aren't official numbers, The Verge claims it places Spotify's paid subscription base closer to 25 million.

Still, Apple Music is growing fast. Back in October the company reported 6.5 million paying users and now has tacked on an extra 3.5 million across the more than 100 countries where it's available. From Spotify's Swedish launch in 2008, it took the company six years to reach the same 10 million mark.

That figure may make it seem like Apple Music is growing much faster, but Spotify had many more obstacles at the time, given it had to pave the way for the entirety of the music streaming market.

Music Business Worldwide reports that labels received their first "paid for" Apple Music checks for October last month and one independent label told the publication, "It was double the amount of money we were expecting," although income from China was lower than they hoped for.

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