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Spotify retains clear lead over Apple Music with 60M paid subscribers

Spotify on Monday announced that it has 60 million paid subscribers, keeping it well ahead of Apple Music in the on-demand music industry.

The company had just 50 million Premium subscribers as recently as March, Reuters noted. In June the company said it had over 140 million active users in total, which would imply at least 80 million people are listening to the company's free ad-based tier.

At last month's Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple reported 27 million subscribers. Apple Music lacks any free listening option beyond a three-month trial.

Paid subscriptions generate more revenue than ads, however, and in fact Spotify has been working to convert more of its free customers to Premium, for its own sake and to appease record labels. Recent label negotiations have reportedly involved Spotify paying lower royalties, but agreeing to delay album access for ad-based customers.

The Swedish company is working towards an initial public stock offering, which the Financial Times claimed could happen as soon as the fourth quarter. Shares may appear on the New York Stock Exchange, Reuters said.

In recent months, Apple has been pushing original video content as a way of standing out from competitors like Spotify and Pandora. Its next big effort is ""Carpool Karaoke," coming Aug. 8. Spotify is reportedly looking into promoting podcasts, especially since that involves fewer label payments.