Apple Music surpasses 20M subscribers after 17 months of service [u]

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited December 2016
Less than 18 months after its debut in 2015, Apple's fledgling music streaming service Apple Music recently surpassed 20 million subscribers, a milestone that took rival Spotify some seven years to reach.




The achievement, which comes only three months after Apple Music hit 17 million subscribers, was confirmed to Music Business Worldwide on Tuesday.

For Apple, the 20 million subscriber mark punctuates a year and a half of sizable gains. Starting with a strong initial install base of iOS and Mac device owners in June 2015, the number of paying Apple Music subscribers reached 6.5 million in just four months. By February, Apple's streaming music service topped 11 million and was attracting about one million new users per month.

Apple Music subscriber figures hit 13 million in April, 15 million in June and 17 million as of the company's last official update in September.

In a statement to Billboard, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue took the opportunity to tout Apple Music's impact on the wider music industry.

"It's been quite a year," Cue said. "We were thrilled to see that we could take [artists'] passions and drive them all the way to No. 1. Chance the Rapper, who we put on Apple Music exclusively, hit the top 10 on the Billboard charts [based on streams alone], and I can't recall that being done before."

Apple Music's biggest rival, Spotify, announced a paying subscriber base of 40 million users as of September, a number set to grow beyond 50 million users early next year.

Products like Apple Music, Spotify and Pandora are leading the charge as consumers increasingly pivot away from physical media and, more recently, digital downloads in favor of all-you-can-eat streaming services. In 2016 alone, Spotify added some 12 million paying subscribers, while Apple Music attracted 10 million users. Those numbers are in addition to free services like Pandora, YouTube, Beats 1 Radio and Spotify's own free-to-stream tier.

Of note, Cue said some 60 percent of Apple Music subscribers have not made a purchase from the iTunes Music Store in the last 12 months. Further, more than half of all subscribers live outside of the U.S.

With substantially similar content libraries, and the seeming demise of streaming exclusives, companies are turning to pricing promotions and rate cuts to bolster customer growth. Apple Music, for example, expanded its half-price student membership option in November to cover a total of 30 regions worldwide, and is said to be mulling a 20 percent price drop to better compete with rivals like Amazon's Music Unlimited.

Despite a minor falling out with Universal Music Group, Cue said exclusives will continue in the near term and is expectedly upbeat on the future of Apple Music.

"We can't forget that, as an industry, we still have very few music subscribers. There are billions of people listening to music and we haven't even hit 100 million subscribers," Cue said. "There's a lot of growth opportunity."

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include a statement from Apple SVP Eddy Cue.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    yuck9yuck9 Posts: 79member
    Lot of 3 mo free subs still out there.  Just started mine.
  • Reply 2 of 29
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,716member
    Doomed! Apple should've beaten Spotify on day 1. /s

    solid first 18 months. 
    SolijahbladeEsquireCatswatto_cobraalbegarcjbishop1039
  • Reply 3 of 29
    Power of defaults.
    croprpatchythepirate
  • Reply 4 of 29
    yuck9 said:
    Lot of 3 mo free subs still out there.  Just started mine.


    But obviously quite a few of them are converted to paid subscriptions. The count has only been going up. If most subscribers simply used their free subscription and then opted out, the numbers would either be flat or negative.

    So for the past year and a half, the number of people opting to continue paying for it is more than the number of people bailing after the free period.

    edited December 2016 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 29
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,022member
    My Apple Music sub came with my cellphone plan. Many contracted customers on my carrier got the same deal so i assume this has pumped the number for Australia. 

    What im saying is that it's Apple Music was not a conscious choice for me. But I'm putting up with over complex interface cf Spotify because the price is right. When the time comes I'll switch back to Spotify because it does a few things really well. 

    Managing playlists
    searching for and playing songs
    easy to use ui

    these things are no brainers for a music app but in my view Apple Music gets it wrong. 

  • Reply 6 of 29
    yuck9 said:
    Lot of 3 mo free subs still out there.  Just started mine.
    Apple only counts paying subscribers in their numbers.  Free trial customers are not counted in the total.  They have told us this many times.

    Now Spotify on the other hand.... methinks that '40 million' figure has a lot of fluff in there (super cheap 3 month memberships).  However, I could be wrong....
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 29
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,764member
    Power of defaults.
    Ah yes. Beats Hate. 




    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 29
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,764member

    yuck9 said:
    Lot of 3 mo free subs still out there.  Just started mine.
    Yup, I'm two months into mine. As far as I know, Apple doesn't count you as a subscriber until you start paying. 

    I like the interface. I love the curated radio stations (which know my taste in music better than I do). What I don't love  is having to pay for iTunes Match AND the streaming service. Aren't they kind of the same thing?
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 9 of 29
    The only thing missing from Apple Music is a browser based player. Don't need to download songs or store offline - just the streaming part. I know a few people who use Spotify in their workplace because they can stream in their browser on work computers (don't have admin rights so can't install iTunes or any other software).
    mike1jbishop1039lostkiwi
  • Reply 10 of 29
    wdowellwdowell Posts: 209member
    How many actually pay 9,99 per month?  As the numbers grow, it's declining as a percentage, as...

    The discounted 12 months subscription deal (which you can combine also with cheap iTunes top up cards) AND  international expansion of the STUDENT subscriptions  will no doubt have helped.  And also let's not forget family
  • Reply 11 of 29
    pk22901pk22901 Posts: 139member
    Rayz2016 said:

    yuck9 said:
    Lot of 3 mo free subs still out there.  Just started mine.
    As far as I know, Apple does count you as a subscriber until you start paying. 

  • Reply 12 of 29
    pk22901pk22901 Posts: 139member
    "As far as I know, Apple does count you as a subscriber until you start paying." Apple's explicitly reporting (on record) 20M /paid/ subscribers of Apple Music. If you're right, where are the lawyers?
  • Reply 13 of 29
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,764member
    pk22901 said:
    "As far as I know, Apple does count you as a subscriber until you start paying." Apple's explicitly reporting (on record) 20M /paid/ subscribers of Apple Music. If you're right, where are the lawyers?

    Yup. My dodgy typing:  I meant to say Apple doesn't count you as a subscriber until you start paying. 
  • Reply 14 of 29
    Does a family membership could as 1 or 6 people, or do they know how many people actually use it in a family membership and count accordingly?

    Yet to try it out personally, I've moved from Spotify to Deezer (both free with mobile contracts) and now I'm on Prime Music (free with prime) which has most of the obscure post-rock bands I listen to so it does me fine.
  • Reply 15 of 29
    Let's hope that Apple/Google/Amazon don't eventually crush Spotify, that would be a real shame. Competition in this market, especially from cross-platform services, is desperately needed. Apple/Google would have little need to innovate if it weren't for Spotify keeping them honest.
  • Reply 16 of 29
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,138member
    Apple needs to up its game here...

    First, they trashed my music collection...   Moved it all to their server and then, when I download "MY' music I get songs with the same title but completely different versions (provided the song is available at all).   Plus they removed the genres I had assigned so I can no longer call up say "80's rock" or "Christmas" and play a few hours of my favorite tunes. 

    Also, my data plan is now always almost max'd out each month from all the downloading.   And, when I try to play already downloaded music, I have to do it song by song because my library is so chopped up individual songs from play lists.  So, on long road trips, I have to balance the cost of going over my data plan to listening to chopped up music from my download library.

    I addition, Apple Music seems mostly focused on the current music scene which, frankly, to me, is mostly not music.   If it isn't rap, then its a single singer singing in a monotone over top of a monotone electronic track.   Beats adds potential -- but most of the DJ's need to cut down on the caffeine.   I want music, not somebody bouncing off the walls...  

    Yes, I have experienced some advantages to it.   But they are counter balanced by the disadvantages -- and the result is mostly a wash...   I tried it as an experiment and have been giving myself time to adjust to a different way.   But, so far, its hard to justify paying for...

    Like the Apple Watch, I wonder if Apple is just getting advice  and direction from the wrong people?
  • Reply 17 of 29
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,924member
    The only thing missing from Apple Music is a browser based player. Don't need to download songs or store offline - just the streaming part. I know a few people who use Spotify in their workplace because they can stream in their browser on work computers (don't have admin rights so can't install iTunes or any other software).
    Ditto that sentiment for the same reasons!
    When Apple first introduced the radio stations, I used it at home all the time, but couldn't at work for that very reason.
    jbishop1039
  • Reply 18 of 29
    Jim Dalrymple not an Music fan. Ouch.


    I’ve said this since the launch of Apple Music, but it seems very clear now. “Music” is no longer in Apple’s DNA—hip-hop is what’s important to Apple. Again, it’s a numbers game. More people are listening to that genre than ever before, so Apple can leave the Rock/Blues/Metal acts to another service and still add subscribers using hip-hop exclusives. It’s actually refreshing to see Apple finally admit it.

    People like me with an existing music library that rely on the often non-working iTunes Match are no longer Apple’s market. I even opened up a second Apple Music account to see if iTunes Match would work—it didn’t.

    In a lot of ways it makes perfect sense that Apple is building a music service that doesn’t require a music library—there’s less hassle and they don’t have to rely on services like iTunes Match to please those customers. Apple is catering to those customers very well. However, it’s a shame they don’t care about the rest of us any more.


    edited December 2016
  • Reply 19 of 29
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,894member
    pk22901 said:
    "As far as I know, Apple does count you as a subscriber until you start paying." Apple's explicitly reporting (on record) 20M /paid/ subscribers of Apple Music. If you're right, where are the lawyers?

    adm1 said:
    Does a family membership could as 1 or 6 people, or do they know how many people actually use it in a family membership and count accordingly?

    Yet to try it out personally, I've moved from Spotify to Deezer (both free with mobile contracts) and now I'm on Prime Music (free with prime) which has most of the obscure post-rock bands I listen to so it does me fine.

    yuck9 said:
    Lot of 3 mo free subs still out there.  Just started mine.
    True, but those aren't counted in these numbers.

    family plans are counted as one membership.
  • Reply 20 of 29
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,894member
    sog35 said:
    Jim Dalrymple not an Music fan. Ouch.


    I’ve said this since the launch of Apple Music, but it seems very clear now. “Music” is no longer in Apple’s DNA—hip-hop is what’s important to Apple. Again, it’s a numbers game. More people are listening to that genre than ever before, so Apple can leave the Rock/Blues/Metal acts to another service and still add subscribers using hip-hop exclusives. It’s actually refreshing to see Apple finally admit it.

    People like me with an existing music library that rely on the often non-working iTunes Match are no longer Apple’s market. I even opened up a second Apple Music account to see if iTunes Match would work—it didn’t.

    In a lot of ways it makes perfect sense that Apple is building a music service that doesn’t require a music library—there’s less hassle and they don’t have to rely on services like iTunes Match to please those customers. Apple is catering to those customers very well. However, it’s a shame they don’t care about the rest of us any more.


    owning large libraries of music and movies is so 1990's

    its so liberating not to own hundreds of cd's and dvd's.
    Until they have Apple lossless, it's useless to me. For people who don't care, can't tell the difference, or don't have systems that enable you to tell the difference, these compressed services are fine. Otherwise, they're not. A number of friends subscribe to Tidal's $20 lossless service, and they like the quality of that. I haven't tried it because I don't want to get involved with something that may not be here in a year.
    lostkiwi
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