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HIGH NOTES

Facing down all its competitors, Spotify hits a massive new subscriber milestone

Amy X. Wang
By Amy X. Wang

Reporter

This much is clear: the future of music is streaming. Here’s what’s not so apparent: which streaming services will thrive, and which will flounder?

Amid the chaotic array of offerings out there, Spotify—nine years old and pushing out new features all the time—is one business that’s proving its staying power. The service officially has more than 30 million paying subscribers, according to CEO Daniel Ek today (March 21).

Ek’s news comes after his confident pronouncement last month that streaming is carrying the growth of the music industry at large.

Competition has not been light. The nascent Apple Music announced 10 million paying subscribers in January six months after launch, a number it took Spotify six whole years to reach, and it’s crept into dozens of countries in which the nine-year-old Swedish streaming service isn’t available. Things are only going to get more crowded: Tidal, Pandora, Deezer, YouTube, and Amazon all have new streaming platforms or expansion plans in the works—and SoundCloud just signed a huge licensing deal that suggests it might be firing up a rival service.

But Spotify, for now, is holding its own. The company hit 10 million subscribers in May 2014 and 20 million subscribers in June 2015—so reaching adding a further 10 million users in less than another year shows a pretty promising trajectory, especially as other businesses bring the heat.

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