Spotify Ready to Go to Battle With Apple Music

Spotify Ready to Go to Battle With Apple Music
Spotify’s CEO and Co-Founder Daniel Ek photographed on May 21, 2015 at Spotify’s New York City office. Photo: Wesley Mann

When it comes to selling music streaming subscriptions, Spotify has something Apple doesn’t have: a big head start.

Spotify announced today it has 20 million paid subscribers to its streaming service and 75 million active users. Paid subscriptions, which start at $9.99 per month, are up 100 percent from last year, according to data from Spotify.

The same week Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Apple Music, a premium service that will be a direct competitor to Spotify, the Swedish company is finding plenty of reasons to celebrate. More than half a billion of them, to be exact.

Spotify closed a $526 billion fundraising round this week, according to a newspaper, citing a person familiar with the matter.

One of the biggest investors in the fundraising round is TeliaSonera, a Swedish telecommunications company, which announced today a $115 million investment in Spotify in exchange for a 1.4 percent stake in the company.

Both companies plan to work together on new media distribution, analytics and advertising plans, according to a news release from TeliaSonera.

Whether Spotify can continue to grow will become more apparent after Apple — perhaps the most formidable competitor any company could face — launches Apple Music later this month.

An estimated 41 million people paid for a streaming music subscription service in 2014, according to IFPI, a London-based recording industry trade group that represents more than 1,300 record labels.

Starting on June 30, Apple Music users can get a 3-month free membership, after which a $9.99 per month subscription fee will apply. There will also be a family plan providing service for up to six family members available for $14.99 per month, undercutting the competition.

Apple’s huge advantage: With more than 800 million iTunes accounts, Apple Music has the opportunity to quickly amass a following.