Spotify paid subscribers have now reached 100M, double the last number Apple Music reported back in January.

Spotify announced the number in its latest earnings report, for the first quarter of the year …

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Almost half of the company’s users are now paid subscribers.

Monthly Active Users grew 26% Y/Y to 217 million, slightly lower than the midpoint of our 215-220 million MAU guidance range […]

Premium Subscribers grew to 100 million, up 32% Y/Y, reaching the high end of our guidance range of 97-100 million, and marking an important milestone in Company history.

However, as the company itself acknowledges, much of its recent growth was driven by generous promotions.

Outperformance was driven by a better than plan promotion in the US and Canada and continued strong growth in Family Plan. We also saw strong growth from the expansion of our Google Home Mini promotion, as well as the price reduction to our Spotify Premium + Hulu offering in the US.

In March, we extended our partnership with Google by expanding our Google Home Mini promotion to two new markets, the UK and France. The new promotional offer is substantially similar to the deal offered in the US in Q4. In the UK and France, new and existing Family Plan master account holders can claim a free Google Home Mini voice speaker […]

Additionally, we expanded our partnership with Hulu during Q1 by offering their limited commercial plan to our Standard $9.99 subscribers at no additional charge. This promotion replaces our existing $12.99 Spotify + Hulu bundle and builds upon the success and popularity of our Spotify Student + Hulu plan available in the US.

While Apple Music offers a six-month free trial, as well as discounts for students and families, Spotify has always gone further, with a range of promotions that saw Premium subscribers paying as little as $1/month for several months after a free trial. Spotify paid subscribers therefore don’t offer a direct like-for-like comparison with those for Apple Music in terms of financials.

The most recent Apple Music subscriber number reported by Apple was 50M paid users back in January, representing growth of around 10M users in the second half of 2018. It’s possible – though not certain – that we’ll get an updated number when Apple reports its Q2 (calendar Q1) earnings tomorrow.

Spotify and Apple are not exactly on the best of terms at present. Spotify has made an official complaint against the Cupertino company, accusing it of anti-competitive behavior and giving its own streaming music service an ‘unfair advantage at every turn.’ Apple responded aggressively, claiming that Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free, but industry commenters have said that Apple could potentially take a triple-hit from the dispute:

  • Fines from antitrust investigations
  • Loss of App Store commissions if it is forced to change its policies
  • Reputational damage if the matter becomes a big public battle

Both incumbents face increased competition from Amazon as it reportedly readies a hi-res streaming music service.

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