What just happened? Apple has been adding US-based subscribers to its streaming music service at a faster clip than Spotify and according to sources familiar with the matter, the California-based tech giant has now pulled ahead of its rival in the world's biggest music market.

The Wall Street Journal on Friday, citing unnamed sources, said Apple Music's monthly growth rate has been around 2.6 percent to three percent versus 1.5 percent to two percent for Spotify. As a result, Apple Music pulled ahead of its primary competitor in February with more than 28 million US subscribers compared to Spotify's 26 million subscribers.

The numbers, the people said, only include paying users, specifically excluding trial subscriptions.

The Journal said Apple expected to pass its rival more than six months ago but efforts to close the gap slowed due to recent Spotify promotions such as bundling its service with a subscription to Hulu.

On a global scale, however, Spotify is still well ahead of Apple. In December, the company said it had 207 million active users, 96 million of which were paying subscribers or in a trial period destined for a subscription. Apple, meanwhile, has north of 50 million total subscribers, all of which are of the paying variety (Apple Music doesn't offer an ad-supported option).

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