After a rocky start characterized by a clunky and inconsistent UI, Apple Music has seemingly hit its stride. Not even a year old, Apple’s streaming music service already boasts more than 13 million paying subscribers. And while one might reasonably assume that Apple Music’s tremendous gains in just a few months is bad news for Spotify, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
As it stands today, Spotify currently has more than 30 million subscribers. What’s more, Spotify VP Jonathan Forster recently explained in an interview with Reuters that Spotify has experienced an even faster rate of growth since Apple Music hopped on the scene last June.
“It’s great that Apple is in the game,” Forster said. “They are definitely raising the profile of streaming. It is hard to build an industry on your own. Since Apple Music started we’ve been growing quicker and adding more users than before.”
It’s an interesting point that strongly suggests that streaming is far from a zero-sum game. Having used both services, I can attest that while they are very much the same at a base level, each service has its own set of pros and cons. In other words, there’s definitely enough room for more than just one streaming music service, much in the way that there’s room in the marketplace for a wide variety of streaming video sites.
“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,” Forster added. “I don’t think that is the case.”
That said, Forster still believes that there’s only so many services that music fans can support. Indeed, a quick glimpse at the music service landscape reveals no shortage of competitors, from Apple Music and Spotify to Pandora, Tidal, Google Play and even YouTube.
With so many companies vying for the ears of listeners, Forster isn’t confident that all of the aforementioned services can thrive simultaneously.
“My Internet history would tell me that there’s probably not going to be that many significant players, and then maybe smaller niche cases,” Forster opined.
No matter how it all plays out, it seems quite clear that both Apple Music and Spotify aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. As Apple Music continues to grow, thanks in part to exclusive deals the company has struck with music A-listers like Drake, Spotify’s place among streaming services seems more than secure. In fact, Spotify is currently the second top-grossing app in Apple’s App Store, across all categories.
One final point worth mentioning: The total number of Spotify downloads hasn’t skyrocketed since the debut of Apple Music about 10 months ago. Nonetheless, Spotify appears to be doing a better job of convincing trial users and Spotify Free users to sign up for premium subscriptions. A chart mapping Spotify downloads over the past few months (courtesy of AppAnnie) can be seen below.