April 5, 2019 / 5:35 PM / 8 months ago

Apple Music's U.S. subscriber count overtakes Spotify: source

FILE PHOTO: An Apple logo hangs above the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York City, July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar

(Reuters) - Apple Inc’s streaming music service overtook rival Spotify Technology SA in terms of paid subscribers in the United States, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

Apple’s service had 28 million subscribers as of the end of February compared with Spotify’s 26 million paid subscribers, the person said.

Both companies charge $9.99 a month for subscriptions, though Spotify still has more total U.S. listeners than an Apple thanks to an ad-supported free tier of its service with fewer features. Analysts also believe Spotify has a stronger subscriber position than Apple outside the United States.

Neither Apple nor Spotify disclose country-level listener data, and both firms declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that Apple has overtaken Spotify on the metric.

Apple’s streaming service is part of a broader push at the company to make money off subscriptions and services as iPhone sales slow. Last month the company announced a news, television and gaming subscriptions, as well as a credit card partnership with Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Spotify likely still has more paying users than Apple Music, with 96 million premium subscribers and 207 million month active users as of its most recent earnings report in February. The company said in its report that it has 28.8 million premium subscribers and 62.1 million monthly active listeners in its North American region, which includes Canada but not Mexico.

Apple does not regularly disclose how many subscribers it has, and the last official count - 50 million - came almost a year ago in May of 2018.

About 67 million of Spotify’s premium subscribers are outside of North America, the company said in its most recent quarterly report.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by David Gregorio

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