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Spotify now has a whopping 30 million paying subscribers

Spotify may have gained a formidable competitor in the music streaming space when Apple Music launched at the end of June 2015, but the company’s user base has continued to grow at a hot pace. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek announced on Twitter today that the number of paying users has now surpassed the 30 million mark, ahead of expectations.

Spotify last released official numbers in June 2015, and at the time, the firm revealed that it had garnered 20 million paying subscribers. The increase of 10 million subscribers in nine months is especially promising compared to the first six months of the year, a period in which only five million paying subscribers signed up. Perhaps CEO Daniel Ek was onto something when he claimed that Apple Music is driving users to Spotify.

Related: Apple Music has more than 11 million subscribers, executives confirm

In his tweet, Ek also hinted that he was excited to see Cuba opening up, apparently referencing Obama’s visit to the country this week. Ek’s comments could foreshadow a possible move for the service into Cuba in the near future. However, considering the average Cuban gets a state salary of around $20 per month, the impoverished country doesn’t seem like a viable move for paying streaming services just yet. Whether Spotify may move its service to Cuba in hopes of padding its 10s of millions of free, ad-based users in the near future remains to be seen.

While Spotify’s latest number is impressive, the streaming service’s estimated growth does appear to fall just short of Apple Music’s over roughly the same period. Apple execs confirmed in February that the service has surpassed 11 million subscribers since its June 30, 2015 launch. That increase can’t be ignored, even if Spotify has a healthy lead right now. Apple Music is expected to reach 20 million subscribers by the end of 2016.

Beyond Spotify and Apple Music, the competition isn’t even close. Deezer, a streaming service based in France, has over 6.3 million users, while Jay-Z’s Tidal only hit the 1 million mark at the end of September. It appears that, at least for the foreseeable future, Spotify and Apple Music will continue to fight for the biggest share of the growing on-demand subscription music streaming market.

Spotify looks poised to remain at the top of the pile, but there are a lot of variables in the relatively new field. No matter how well-positioned Spotify is at the moment, Apple Music is a big enough threat to keep the streamer on its toes.

Updated 3/21/16 by Ryan Waniata: Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has confirmed the service now has 30 million paying subscribers.