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Spotify hits 40 million subscribers

A week after its main rival Apple Music boasted 17 million paying members, Spotify's CEO tweets about its own milestone.

Spotify and Apple Music have emerged as the early leaders in subscription music.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Don't bet on Spotify starting monthly updates on its subscriber count, even if it feels like it lately.

Wednesday, Spotify's CEO and founder Daniel Ek tweeted that the subscription-streaming-music service has reached 40 million paying members. "40 is the new 30. Million." Ek tweeted, with a smiley emoji.

Three weeks earlier, a Spotify executive told Billboard the company had reached more than 39 million members, up from 30 million in March.

The updates came quickly before and after a high-profile Apple event last week. The star of the show was the gadget giant's latest flagship phones, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, but Apple kicked off the presentation with an update about Apple Music, its own streaming music service and Spotify's chief rival.

As of last Wednesday, Apple Music had 17 million subscribers, up from 13 million in April.

The growth of both services underscores the consumer shift from buying music piecemeal to paying a fee for all-you-can-eat tunes. As more people have come on board, Spotify and Apple Music are emerging as the early leaders, heightening their rivalry. With Spotify enjoying a price advantage thanks to its unique free, ad-supported tier, competitors like Apple Music have leaned on exclusives for hit albums, like Frank Ocean's record "Blonde." That has led to reports that Spotify is retaliating against artists who grant exclusives elsewhere.

But it's hard to glean much about Spotify's competitive stance from its latest member update. August's peek put the number at more than 39 million members, so its unclear how much distance Spotify had to clear to cross the 40 million mark in that three week span.