Last month the headline was that Apple Music had unofficially surpassed Spotify in U.S. paid subscribers. But new data suggests that Spotify may have pulled ahead in this neck and neck race for streaming supremacy.
Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) has released a research report estimating that Spotify added 3 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2019. When reached for clarification, CIRP said that it estimates Spotify ended the quarter with 28 million to 29 million paid premium subscribers.
According to the Wall Street Journal article Apple Music ended February with 28 million U.S. subscribers. So either Spotify or Apple could be #1, depending on who added the most subscribers in March.
Supporting the estimates that Spotify is - and perhaps always was - #1 in the US, CIRP estimates that Spotify is converting more free and trial users to premium subscriptions and that the proportion of subscribers that canceled their subscriptions, either to use the free tier or to stop using Spotify altogether, was relatively flat, according to International Business.
"Spotify continues to fill its 'funnel' by increasing its initial customer trials of the Premium service and converting those trial customers to paid subscribers," Levin said in a statement. "Once someone begins a trial, they are increasingly likely to begin paying for a Premium membership. Spotify has also managed its churn rate, so the number of members who end a paid Premium membership seems to have stabilized at 13-14% in a given quarter."