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Apple Music hits 48 million subscribers

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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.