Spotify has been a power in the streaming music industry for the better part of a decade, but now that industry looks poised for a major disruption. Apple Music is quickly gaining steam, according to The Washington Post, and 2018 might be the year it overcomes Spotify to become the leading music subscription service in the United States. This comes at a bad time for Spotify, which is considering going public later this year.
Spotify first launched in Sweden in 2008, then entered the U.S. market in 2011. The service quickly gained popularity with its innovative approach to letting people access millions of songs at the click of a mouse. Now, though, Apple is gaining. The California tech titan launched its streaming service three years ago; as of right now, it only has 15 million subscribers to Spotify’s 18.2 million, but that’s changing. Apple Music’s subscriber base is adding 5 percent every month. That means it will top 20 million within six months and be ahead of Spotify (which is gaining just 2 percent monthly) by the end of the summer.
“We are at an inflection point in digital music,” entertainment industry expert Lloyd Greif told the Post. “If Spotify doesn’t make a move, Apple could be dominating within 12 months. Apple is coming for them, and they can’t stand still.”
The big tech companies are always a force to be reckoned with, even when they venture into unfamiliar territory. When Facebook unveiled its new “stories” feature last year, it had stiff competition from Snapchat; within a few months, it had more users. Amazon went up against established brands like Blue Apron when it introduced new meal kits; Blue Apron stock lost 10 percent of its value in a single day. Now, Apple is going after Spotify in much the same way.
For Apple Music, this is a chance to return to the top. A decade ago, iTunes was king when it came to listening to music online; that was before streaming became the next big thing. Now, with a streaming service of its own, the American megalith is back.
“Apple didn’t ultimately win then, but they see this as a chance to win now,” Greif said. “This goes deep in the company’s DNA.”
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