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Spotify hits 50 million subscribers

Spotify added about 10 million members -- equivalent to about half of Apple Music's membership -- in less than half a year.

Spotify added 10 million subscribers in five months.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Spotify has hit 50 million paying subscribers, adding 10 million new members in about five months, the music-streaming company tweeted Thursday.

Put another way, Spotify spent less than half a year adding about half an Apple Music.

The growth underscores the consumer shift from buying music outright to paying a fee for all-you-can-access tunes. As more people have come on board, Spotify and Apple Music are emerging as the early leaders. While Apple Music has leaned on heavy marketing and exclusives for hit albums, Spotify enjoys a price advantage thanks to its unique free, ad-supported tier.

Apple Music said it hit 20 million in December, adding 3 million subscribers in three months at that time. Apple didn't respond to a message seeking comment, but last month, executive Eddy Cue said Apple Music was "well past" the 20 million mark.

Tidal, the subscription music service owned by hip-hop mogul Jay Z and other megastars, has come under scrutiny about its membership base this year. After the company boasted 3 million members a year ago, a Norwegian news report in January claimed Tidal has been inflating its member count. A record executive said the number was closer to 850,000 subscribers.