Apple Music's competition grows as Spotify boasts half a billion active users

Spotify wrapped on iPhone 12
(Image credit: Tammy Rogers/ iMore)

The world of music streaming is a competitive one and Apple Music has plenty to shout about. But if there's one streamer that it seems set to perpetually play catch up to, it's Spotify.

The Swedish streamer has been around longer than most which gave it a huge leg up on some of the competition. But it continues to grow in ways few others can compete with and its latest quarter results drive that point home more than ever.

According to those results, Spotify now has more than 500 million active monthly users. That's the first time it's achieved such a milestone, and it's a huge number.

Music to someone's ears

While Apple doesn't share much data about how Apple Music is doing, Spotify isn't bothered about who knows its numbers — likely because they're so positive. A press release confirmed the milestone, adding that the streamer's 515 million active monthly users is a 22% increase from the previous year.

It's a similar story for subscriptions as well, with a 15% growth giving Spotify 210 million people who now pay for their music.

See more

Spotify also says that it saw its total revenue grow by 14% to €3.0 billion ($3.3 billion) thanks to those subscriber gains.

All of this is of course huge news for Spotify, but the release doesn't mention when it will get around to launching its HiFi tier. Apple Music has its own lossless streaming capabilities, but Spotify lags behind here. It also isn't clear whether Spotify will charge a premium for high-bitrate streams.

Whether you'll be strapping on the best headphones you can find and listening to Spotify's higher-quality streams any time soon is anyone's guess, but with half a billion people listening in we have to imagine it's on the way. The sooner the better.

In the meantime, Apple has some lossless and spatial audio music ready and waiting for you.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • FFR
    210 million paying subscribers to Spotify and only 3 billion in revenue.
    And 156 million as an operating loss.
  • scruffypig
    I wish Spotify would pay their artist’s better.
  • Up_And_Away
    Difficult to believe full paying customer jump of this proportion without it being significantly in part to a bundling. I believe this also including, for example, Joe Rogan podcast subs. It isn’t music.

    These numbers suggest they’re paying more to get users. That’s a slippery slope:
    Revenue: 3.04 billion euros versus 3.09 billion euros expected
    Loss per share: -1.16 euros versus -0.85 euros expected