Spotify hits 113 million subscribers, well ahead of Apple Music

Growth keeps streaming along.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Joan E. Solsman
2 min read
Angela Lang/CNET

Spotify hit 113 million subscribers at the end of September, up 31% from a year earlier, the music streaming service said Monday in its third-quarter report. That means Spotify remains well ahead of its closest competitor, Apple Music, which last updated its stats on subscribers in June at 60 million

The subscriber number was near the top of the company's prediction from July, helping push Spotify shares up 11% to $134 in early trading. 

Spotify also said Monday that 248 million people now use its service at least once a month, 30 percent more than a year earlier. Unlike Apple, Spotify has a free tier that lets anyone listen to music with advertising. Apple has never disclosed a monthly-active-user stat; almost all people who use Apple Music are subscribers. 

As society has shifted to streaming as the most common way to listen to music, Spotify and Apple Music pulled ahead in the race to dominate subscriptions. Although Spotify remains the biggest streaming service by both listeners and subscribers, Apple's ubiquitous iPhone -- it has more than 900 million active iPhones out in the world -- helped put Apple Music at the forefront of possible apps that millions of people could choose. That gave Apple Music a leg up in countries like the US, where use of the iPhone is greater than it is in the rest of the world at large. (Apple reportedly outstripped Spotify in US subscribers, which is the world's biggest market for recorded music.)

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Looking ahead, Spotify predicted that it will have 120 million to 125 million paid subscribers by the end of December and that its monthly active users will increase to between 255 million and 270 million.

In the third quarter, Sweden-based Spotify reported a profit of 241 million euros ($267 million), or 36 cents a share, compared with 43 million euros, or 23 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue 28% to 1.731 billion euros in the quarter.

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