Apple’s stance on streaming music is that there’s no such thing as free music. The company offers a three-month free trial, and charges $9.99 a month onwards if the user decides to continue using the service. Apple Music’s biggest rival, Spotify, however offers a freemium tier, which allows users to play music for free but will serve up ads every couple of songs and restricts the order of songs played.
However, it looks like Spotify has some work to do with this tier and piracy. According to Reuters, Spotify has roughly 2 million users who are currently running modified versions of Spotify which allows them to play unlimited, high-quality music without paying for the service.
The publication says that Spotify had 157 million subscribers as of the end of 2017, with 71 million subscribers paying for the service.
This is a serious problem in an industry where artists are already getting paid very little for their work. More importantly, this leaves a hole for Spotify and may increase costs for the company without seeing revenue growth.
Unlike free users, who Spotify hopes will become paid users in the future, users running a modified version of Spotify are unlikely to pay for the service.
Spotify announced that it went public last month. At the time it said that Spotify has twice as many subscribers as Apple Music, coming in at 71 million and 36 million, respectively. This has slightly changed as Apple executive Eddy Cue announced that Apple Music is now at 38 million subscribers, with 8 million users trialing the service.