Assuming current subscriber growth rates hold steady, Apple Music should surpass Spotify -- if only in the U.S. -- sometime this summer, a report claimed on Sunday.
In that country Apple is adding subscribers at a rate of 5 percent per month versus Spotify's 2, record industry sources told the Wall Street Journal. One of the sources added that if people in free or discounted trial periods are included, Apple Music already has a slight advantage.
In fact Apple allegedly has three to four times the number of trial users as Spotify, simply because it doesn't offer a free ad-based tier -- anyone who signs up for Apple Music's three-month trial must either cancel or pay.
Nevertheless, Spotify maintains a large worldwide lead. It has upwards of 70 million paid Premium subscribers, and at least as many free listeners, whereas Apple told the Journal that it now has 36 million subscribers in total. This is despite Spotify being available in just 61 markets versus Apple's 115.
Apple Music is deeply integrated into Apple devices, including the upcoming HomePod, but Spotify launched in 2008 and is largely credited with spearheading on-demand music streaming. The latter has its own advantages, such as dedicated clients, and integration with a host of platforms and devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The HomePod will only support Apple Music, iTunes, and AirPlay.