“40 is the new 30. Million.”
In a semi-cryptic tweet, Founder and CEO of Spotify hinted that their sales had already outpaced Apple’s, stating, “40 is the new 30. Million.” While Spotify hasn’t officially confirmed they’ve reached the 40 million subscribers mark, they did unofficially confirm it via email to >9to5Mac. This is pretty significant given that Apple Music recently announced (and emphasized, even bragged) they had 17 million subscribers during their iPhone 7 event.
Apple made a point to state they had accumulated 17 million subscribers since Apple Music’s subscription-streaming service began in June 2015. They also stated that they added an additional two million subscribers in less than three months. While this is an impressive increase in subscribers, Spotify is still rocking the numbers; Apple just doesn’t want you to know.
Streaming is the name of the game
In both cases, it’s clear that subscription-streaming services seem to be much more popular than the old school way of paying for and downloading individual songs. Both companies have given us relatively regular updates as to their service growth. However, mathematically, both Apple and Spotify have grown the same amount.
Consider this: Spotify added nine million members to achieve their 40 million milestone from the end of March to nearly the end of August. Similarly, Apple gained four million subscribers to reach their 17 million milestone from late April to early August.
For both companies, this is roughly a 30 percent growth during this period, however, since Spotify has a much larger pool of subscribers, the actual number of people who signed up was more than double those who joined Apple.
To be fair, Spotify’s nearly a decade old
Given that Spotify launched nearly eight years ago, this shouldn’t be too surprising. Spotify has had plenty of time to learn and adapt to the needs of their consumers. Spotify streams free, on-demand music with advertising. Consider also that when Apple launched their platform it came with a few hiccups, including one that completely wrecked users’ iTunes libraries and shuffled album art and other metadata around without warning.
It’s a bit early to claim Spotify as the clear winner here, but if Apple wants to win, they’ll need to focus on gaining additional followers, and nailing down some artist exclusives.
With so many subscription services being offered, exclusives are believed to be a good way for Apple to distance themselves from the pack. I foresee exclusives such as Apple-only bonus tracks, free digital downloads of other albums, or other bonus features that would help people choose Apple over Spotify, Napster, or Pandora.
What do you think: will Apple Music climb their way to the top of the pack, or will Spotify reign supreme?