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Photo by studioEAST/Getty Images

Apple appointed a new executive to oversee its Apple Music business as it continues to grow, inching up to 48 million subscribers from 30 million in September, the company announced, per Reuters. Of those subscribers, 40 million pay for the service.

Why it matters: Apple is inching closer to its closest competitor, Spotify, which has roughly 70 million subscribers. Both firms charge subscribers $8.99 a month.

Oliver Schusser has been appointed vice president of Apple Music and international content, reporting to Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of internet software and services.

Apple has been taking steps to beef up its music service for months:

  • In January, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is planning to produce original television shows and movies to compete with Spotify, which announced a joint content bundle with video service provider Hulu on Thursday.
  • In December, Apple confirmed it is buying music-identification app Shazam, for a reported price of roughly $400 million.

Still, the tech giant faces competition. Other music subscription services like SoundCloud and Amazon Prime Music don't disclose subscriber numbers, although Amazon did tell The Verge last week it has "tens of millions of active subscribers."

The bigger picture: Investing in Apple Music, along with other apps, is part of chief executive Tim Cook's push to double Apple's "services" or software revenue by 2020.

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
27 mins ago - Economy & Business

The winners and losers of the pandemic holiday season

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic has upended Thanksgiving and the shopping season that the holiday kicks off, creating a new crop of economic winners and losers.

The big picture: Just as it has exacerbated inequality in every other facet of American life, the coronavirus pandemic is deepening inequities in the business world, with the biggest and most powerful companies rapidly outpacing the smaller players.

Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

The daily rate of new coronavirus infections rose by about 10 percent in the final week before Thanksgiving, continuing a dismal trend that may get even worse in the weeks to come.

Why it matters: Travel and large holiday celebrations are most dangerous in places where the virus is spreading widely — and right now, that includes the entire U.S.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.