Apple Music Hits 38 Million Paid Subscribers

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This is the first time Spotify will be available on the African continent. Spotify plans to IPO at the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol SPOT.

Cost of revenue - which mainly consists of royalty paid to music record labels and music publishers - rose 49 percent in 2016, but just 27 percent a year ago, the company's documents showed.

Spotify's enormous lead over Apple notwithstanding, some industry observers believe that Apple Music may catch up to and overtake Spotify in just a few months because it appears to be growing at a much faster clip.

Founded in 2006 by Ek and Martin Lorentzon in the staid Stockholm suburb of Ragsved, the firm now has 71 million paying customers worldwide, twice that of closest rival Apple Music.

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In addition to its paid service, Spotify also offers an free ad-supported version to help draw users into the service.

There may still be problems ahead.

Spotify is encouraging users to "use your musical prowess to do good" and correct its music metadata to help artists connect with more fans, and help other people discover new music by fuelling its personalisation engines. Radiohead and Taylor Swift have been among high-profile dissidents; both have returned to the service.

Spotify boasts over 159 million listeners worldwide. While company sales climbed to 4.09 billion euros ($5 billion) in 2017, losses widened. This may leave Spotify in the weeds behind Apple, Google, Amazon and even terrestrial radio when it comes to owning the physical distribution channel for music (smartphones, voice-enabled speakers, cars and more).

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