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Spotify Trounces Apple Music in Competition for Streaming Music Service Paid Subscribers

When it comes to paid subscribers, Spotify is at the top of the charts.

The Stockholm, Sweden-based music-streaming service announced in its quarterly earnings report on Wednesday that it has 96 million paid subscribers, up 36% from the same period last year.

Apple Music, Spotify’s closest competitor in paid music streaming subscriptions, said on its earnings call last month that it has more than 50 million subscribers. It was the first major update (AAPL) Apple had given about its subscriber base since last May, when CEO Tim Cook said the streaming service had a combined total of 50 million paid and trial subscriptions.

(SPOT) Spotify, however, did have one advantage over Appletime. Spotify launched in 2008. Apple Music made its debut in 2015 to major fanfare, including a live Beats 1 radio broadcast and exclusive deals for some new content from popular artists, including Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.

The updated subscriber numbers were released on the same day Spotify announced it will acquire two podcast companies, Gimlet Media, a producer, and Anchor, a podcast technology company. The acquisitions will help fulfill CEO Daniel Ek’s goal to expand Spotify’s focus beyond music to focus on other types of audio.

Ek said he believes 20% of the content consumed on Spotify will eventually be audio other than music, such as podcasts.

“Just as we’ve done with music, our work in podcasting will focus intensively on the curation and customization that users have come to expect from Spotify,” Ek said in a blog post. “We will offer better discovery, data, and monetization to creators. These acquisitions will meaningfully accelerate our path to becoming the world’s leading audio platform, give users around the world access to the best podcast content, and improve the quality of our listening experience while enhancing the Spotify brand.”