Apple Music is growing fast, but it will be a while before world domination

apple music

Apple Music, Apple’s popular on-demand music streaming service, is doing quite well for itself, now touting 36 million paid subscribers, up from the 30 million it announced in September. A new report released by The Wall Street Journal claims that the company’s quick growth rate — which sits around five percent — is three percent higher than industry leader Spotify, and puts the company on pace to outgrow the Swedish streaming service in the U.S. by mid-2018.

Though interesting, U.S.-focused numbers don’t tell the whole story of the battle between Apple Music and Spotify. With more than 70 million paid subscribers globally — double Apple Music’s numbers — Spotify will remain the worldwide leader in the paid music streaming market for a long time, even with slightly slower overall growth.

In terms of comparing real global growth numbers between the two companies, five percent growth on Apple Music’s 36 million subscriber base equates to approximately 1.8 million new users per month, where two percent growth on Spotify’s 70 million users equals about 1.4 million monthly users per month.

Interestingly, Spotify actually has a smaller global base of operations than the Silicon Valley-based music service; the Swedish streamer is currently available in 61 countries around the globe, where Apple Music boasts functionality in 115.

Apple Music’s quick increase in subscriber numbers likely stem from the streaming service’s inclusion as a factory-installed application on many Apple-made devices, primarily its ever-popular iPhone models. The service often successfully corrals buyers into a free trial of the service, and ultimately a subscription. It also frequently offers first listens of popular artists’ new material, getting the first crack at albums from Drake, Taylor Swift, and more.

Last week, Apple reported profits of $88.3 billion, its biggest quarter ever, $8 billion of which came from its Services segment, which includes Apple Music subscriptions and iTunes download sales.

Given its healthy stance at double the subscriber count of Apple Music, Spotify has more pressing concerns than subscriber numbers. The company is on the verge of a public offering that could make or break its future in the marketplace, where Apple Music has the backing of one of the most valuable companies on the planet, and could theoretically run — and continue growing its subscriber numbers — indefinitely.