Apple Music hits 40 million subscribers as it accelerates towards surpassing Spotify

Apple Music is continuing its upward climb in subscriber count, quickening its pace as it seeks to overtake Spotify in the battle for users’ ears. The music streaming service now has 40 million subscribers, according to a report today from Variety. Apple has confirmed this number to TechCrunch.

The service still has a ways to go before it surpasses Spotify, which currently has 70 million paid Premium subscribers. A report in The Wall Street Journal earlier this year suggests that Apple Music’s quicker growth rate (five percent versus Spotify’s two percent growth) could mean it surpassing the Swedish streaming service as soon as this summer, however. Apple Music hit 30 million subscribers in September of 2017.

In addition to an updated note regarding subscriber notes, the report also says that the streaming service will have a new boss with the promotion of Oliver Schusser to the role of VP of Apple Music & International Content. He will report directly to services head Eddy Cue. Schusser has been at Apple for 14 years, previously leading efforts outside the U.S. on content efforts surrounding the App Store.

Apple’s continued prominence in the music streaming market comes after a rocky introduction thanks to a rough user interface. For Apple to continue to court Spotify Premium subscribers, they’re going to have to continue to focus on more intuitive app design and a more intelligent user recommendation engine, areas where Spotify is still holding strong ahead of it. With Spotify going public last month with a hefty market cap of $28 billion, it’s clear that the company has a lot riding on its ability to stay ahead of Apple in intelligence and continue driving more sophisticated playlists to users.

An area where Apple’s $9.99 per month service is undoubtedly succeeding is in the intimate tie between its audio hardware and Apple Music. Users of the HomePod and AirPods gain essential functionality for music playback only if they are subscribers to Apple Music.