Apple Music now has 20 million paying subscribers, half that of Spotify

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The players battling it out in the music streaming space show no sign of calling a ceasefire, with the fight to win new subscribers as fierce as it’s ever been.

On the same day that Pandora announced the imminent launch of its long-awaited on-demand offering, Apple let it be known that its service, which launched in June last year, now has just over 20 million paying subscribers, up from 17 million three months ago.

Apple Music is available in more than 100 countries, with more than half of its subscribers based outside of the U.S. in huge markets such as Japan, China, Russia, and Brazil.

More: Spotify vs. Apple Music – which service is the streaming king?

But Spotify still leads in terms of paying subscribers after announcing in September it has a colossal 40 million users willing to fork out $10 a month for the service. Impressively, it picked up 10 million new paying users in the six months from March, suggesting Apple has some serious work to do if it wants to catch its biggest rival.

Speaking about his own service, Apple executive Eddy Cue told Billboard this week that it’s been “quite a year” for Apple Music. Despite feeling positive about the way the service is increasing its numbers, Cue confirmed there’s still plenty to fight for within the sector. “We can’t forget that, as an industry, we still have very few music subscribers,” the executive said. “There are billions of people listening to music and we haven’t even hit 100 million subscribers. There’s a lot of growth opportunity.”

With that in mind, reports surfaced last month that the tech giant was looking to secure more Apple Music sign-ups by reducing the cost of its individual plan from $10 to $8, and its family plan from $15 to $13. The new rates were reportedly set to roll out by Christmas, though up to now there’s been no official word on such a deal.

It’s certainly a busy time for the music streaming space. Aside from Pandora’s announcement this week, Amazon recently launched Music Unlimited offering music fans access to tens of millions of tracks, curated playlists, and personalized radio stations. The new service costs $8 a month for Prime members and $10 a month for non-members. Owners of Amazon’s Echo speaker can use the service for the rock-bottom monthly fee of $4.

As for whether the music streaming town is big enough for the lot of them, Cue returned to his earlier theme, commenting that if the services are persuading “more people to pay and buy music then that’s a good thing for all of us.” He just hopes the bulk of them end up settling with Apple Music.

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