The Financial Times is reporting that Apple Music has reached 10 million subscribers, or half of Spotify’s paid subscriber base in just six months. (Note that there were already rumors of Apple hitting that number back in July.)
This is a big number, yet not as big as it seems. Apple Music is available in more than 100 countries, while Spotify is only available in 60 countries. And Apple’s streaming service is available in countries such as India and China, where Spotify is not (officially) available. That, alone, gives Apple access to many times more potential subscribers than Spotify. In India, a monthly subscription to Apple Music costs about $2, and a bit less in China. Granted, the cost of living is lower, but perhaps not 1/5 that of the US.
So this number of 10 million users, while large, needs to be looked at in perspective. Record labels and artists are only earning about 1/5 as much from India and China as they are in the the US and Europe, so 10 million Spotify users are worth a lot more than 10 million Apple Music users. Of course, we have no breakdown of users by country, so all one can say is that Apple Music has found a user base, and the next step is to see if it can grow, and how long people continue using the service.