Apple Music subscribers grow at a quicker rate, challenging Spotify ahead of IPO: Wall Street Journal

Key Points
  • Apple's U.S. subscriptions have been growing about 5 percent monthly, according to a Wall Street Journal report, compared to Spotify's 2 percent.
  • However, Spotify is larger globally and continues to grow slightly faster.
  • Spotify has 70 million global subscribers, while Apple Music has 36 million.
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Competition is heating up among the two of the biggest music streaming services: Spotify and Apple Music.

Though Spotify has long held the No. 1 spot, Apple Music appears to be adding subscriber accounts in the U.S. at a faster rate, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. The tech giant's U.S. subscriptions have been growing about 5 percent monthly, compared to Spotify's 2 percent, the publication said.

If those growth rates continue, Apple will overtake Spotify in accounts this summer, the Journal added.

Spotify launched years before Apple Music, and has the reach to show for it. Currently, the streaming service has more than double Apple's total number of subscribers, and last month boasted a new high in paid global subscribers of 70 million.

A source close to Apple Music told CNBC on Sunday that the service now has 36 million, up from its previously reported 30 million in September.

Apple gets a built-in advantage from its wide array of wildly popular devices like the iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad — all of which come with Apple Music.

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Also, Apple Music has a larger library, and has a premium service which lets users access 45 million songs for $9.99 a month. Separately, Spotify gives free access to over 30 million songs, and has 140 million active users around the globe. For $9.99, subscribers can tune in without hearing ads.

The full report can be found on The Wall Street Journal's website (a subscription may be required).

--CNBC's Josh Lipton contributed to this report.