Apple Music may soon have more paid subscribers in the U.S. than Spotify does, according to industry sources cited by The Wall Street Journal.
The prediction is based on Apple Music’s reported monthly growth rate of 5%, which significantly outstrips Spotify’s 2% growth rate.
However, at the global level Spotify has almost twice as many paid subscribers as Apple Music does, despite the fact that Apple’s service comes preloaded on all iOS devices, and Apple’s presence in more markets than Spotify (115 territories to 61.)
Such figures are important not just because they indicate the popularity of the respective music-streaming services, but because they are used to calculate the royalties that the services must pay to music labels.
Spotify is expected to launch an initial public offering in March or April. However, the New York Stock Exchange listing will only be available to institutional investors.
It is still not clear what user metrics Spotify will have to disclose when it floats. Last month the Swedish company said it had 70 million paid subscribers around the world. Apple (AAPL) told the Journal it has 36 million.
However, neither company publicly discloses its country-level subscriber numbers. Apple also does not break out its Apple Music-derived earnings from those of its broader services segment.