Apple Music's 60 million subscribers tally includes free trials (again)

Spotify, meanwhile, has 100 million subscribers.

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2 min read

Apple Music has grown popular quickly largely thanks to the ubiquity of the iPhone. 

James Martin/CNET

Apple Music has surpassed 60 million subscribers, as Apple resumed counting people with free accounts. In January, Apple  CEO Tim Cook said Apple Music had hit 50 million paid members, not including people who are listening free with its trademark three-month trial period. The last time the company included free trials was more than a year ago, when it disclosed 50 million total members in May 2018. 

Spotify offers a shorter (30-day) free trial, and it counts free subscribers during that promotional period if they have entered credit card details (which is the norm). Regardless of accounting quirks,  Spotify  still holds a gaping lead over Apple Music -- Spotify reported 100 million members as of the end of March. 

As culture shifts to streaming as the most common way people listen to tunes, Apple Music and Spotify have emerged as the leaders in a two-way race to dominate subscription music. Apple Music launched seven years after Spotify, but Apple's subscription music service may have taken the lead in one all-important market: the US, the biggest market for recorded music in the world. 

Watch this: Apple Music vs. Spotify: Music streaming battle

Though Spotify remains the biggest streaming service by both listeners and subscribers, Apple Music has benefited from the popularity of the iPhone to recruit new members. That gives 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. 

But because Spotify has a free tier that Apple lacks, Spotify has 217 million people total using its service at least once a month.

French outlet Numerama first reported the subscriber figures in an interview with Apples's software and services boss Eddy Cue

Originally published June 27. 
Updated June 28: With details about free trials.