Apple Music still trails Spotify in total users, but it may have just taken the lead in one all-important market: the US.
Each of the two music services has more than 20 million paying subscribers in the US, but Apple's is "now a hair ahead," Digital Music News reported Thursday, citing an unnamed music distributor.
In the midst a larger cultural shift 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. 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.
The US may be just one market, but it remains the biggest market in the world for recorded music.
Overall, Spotify has 75 million paying members and 170 million people using the service either by listening free with ads or by subscribing. Roughly 23 million of its subscribers are in North America broadly, according to financial disclosures in May.
In April, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple Music hit 40 million total subscribers.
Spotify declined to comment. Apple didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
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