Spotify hits 50 million subscribers as it widens lead over rivals

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Spotify has reached 50m paying customers, the company said on Thursday, extending its lead over Apple Music in the cut throat music streaming market.

The Swedish streaming company has enjoyed a growth spurt in the past year, adding 20m paying subscribers. This should be welcome news for the big music labels, which have urged Spotify to convince more of its 100m+ listeners to pay a monthly fee for the service.

In comparison, Apple Music, the number-two streaming service by customers, said in December it had 20m paying subscribers.

Spotify has been working to hold its lead in on-demand streaming as more entrants, such as Amazon and SoundCloud, look to capture the ears of music listeners. While Apple has lured new customers through “exclusives” — restricting albums from big stars to Apple Music for an initial time — Spotify has looked to build out its content with original podcasts and programming.

The Stockholm-based start-up is in the midst of negotiating licensing contracts with the largest record labels and is looking to cut the royalty fees it pays as it prepares for an IPO, the FT reported in January.

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