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Apple Music chases Spotify with a reported 10m paid subscribers in six months

Recent forecasts suggesting Apple Music could top 20 million subscribers by the end of this year may well play out following news that the streaming service’s paying user base recently crossed the 10-million mark.

The figure, provided by a Financial Times source, indicates the service is expanding its user base at a steady rate after Tim Cook’s revelation back in October that 6.5 million people were at that time paying the $10 monthly fee to use the service.

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While Apple has taken six months to reach the reported 10 million paying users, Spotify, Apple’s big rival in the music streaming space, took six years. However, it’s worth remembering that Apple Music launched right off the bat in more than 100 countries – and with some 800 million credit cards on file via iTunes – while Spotify didn’t even reach the all-important U.S. market till 2011, five years after it launched.

Although it’s facing tough competition from Apple, Spotify seems to be coping comfortably, last summer announcing it had 20 million paying users – double that of a year earlier. In addition, Spotify’s ad-supported offering is used by around 75 million music fans, with the company working diligently to persuade as many as possible to switch to its paid tier, which, like Apple’s, also costs $10 a month.

Related: Apple Music is more popular with old farts, study suggests

Responding to the FT’s news that Apple had apparently reached the 10-million milestone, Spotify’s head of communications, Jonathan Prince, revealed that the second half of last year witnessed the London-based streaming service’s “faster subscriber growth ever.”

It’s clear that competition in the music streaming space is more intense than ever, a reality that recently led to Rdio’s demise. Some of Rdio’s key assets were snapped by Pandora, though the radio streaming service is also facing some serious challenges of its own.