Last year, shortly after the launch of Apple Music, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek noted that the rival streaming service’s launch hadn’t hurt his company’s growth at all. “We keep setting new records week to week,” he said at the time. It was easy to wonder if this statement was similar to Apple’s ad welcoming IBM to the personal computer business in 1981, shortly before the latter would claim a huge portion of the market for itself.
So far, that doesn’t seem to be the case, as Spotify VP of sales and early employee Jonathan Forster says the company’s rate of growth has continued to increase. “Since Apple Music started we’ve been growing quicker and adding more users than before,” he told Reuters in an interview, adding that the launch of the service brought more attention to streaming music, benefiting Spotify in the process.
Spotify, with its Premium version, currently has 30 million paying subscribers, with reports putting the company’s total user base at around 100 million. Apple Music on the other hand, has only managed to gain 13 million paying customers since its launch last year.
Despite Spotify’s prohibitive lead, Forster wasn’t taking pot shots at Apple Music. Instead, he says that there is room for more than one company to succeed in the music streaming business. “It would be terrible if we were just taking each other’s users or to learn there was just a ceiling of 100 million users — I don’t think that is the case,” Forster said.
Still, Forster was quick to add that not all the current players in the streaming music business were likely to stick around. While it may not have Spotify’s numbers, Apple has plenty of cash on hand to keep Apple Music afloat while it courts new users, something other struggling competitors like SoundCloud and Tidal can’t say.
Apple is already putting its deep pockets to use in order to boost Apple Music. Last week, anonymous sources said that Apple Music would be getting a redesign before WWDC, and Apple also initiated a student discount program, allowing students to access the service for just $5 per month for up to four years.
Spotify isn’t showing any signs of slowing down either. The company received a $1 billion investment in March, and has already acquired a number of new companies this year, including CrowdAlbum last month. It’s not just focusing on its bread and butter business, either, announcing 12 new video shows today featuring names like Russell Simmons, Tim Robbins, and T-Bone Burnett.
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