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Apple Music: what do those growth figures really mean?

Apple Music: what do those growth figures really mean?

Apple Music is growing. Fast. According to a new report in the Financial Times the streaming service, a cornerstone of iOS, now has 10 million paying subscribers.

That’s up from 6.5 million in October, when the company’s CEO Tim Cook spoke to a variety of news outlets about the platform’s success.

If it keeps growing at this rate, analysts reckon Apple Music will outstrip Spotify’s 75 million users by late 2017.

That means it will have taken just over two years to achieve what Spotify took nine years to do.

apple music in use

Impressive, right? Well, as with all of Apple’s success, a broader look is required.

10 million is a huge number, but it’s worth remembering that Apple has an iPhone install base of 800 million.

Then there’s the inescapable fact of the free three-month trial.

By signing up for this, users of Apple Music opt in to an auto-renew function that means that when the 12-week trial is up, they become paying subscribers.

Spotify radio iPhone

Apple is also pushing the service hard, prompting new iPhone owners and those who’ve updated to iOS 9 to give the service a try.

Those users appear to be going straight into Apple’s subscriber figures, which it can then feed to a media that's seemingly always hungry for more stories about the company’s success.

Apple Music remains riddled with teething troubles. Its iCloud Music Library is buggy and there are countless tales of the service causing users’ libraries to duplicate tracks, messing up artwork in the process.

The app’s recommendation engine is decent, but easily matched by Spotify’s excellent Discover Weekly playlists.

It’s understandable that Apple Music is fast to catch up with Spotify.

apple store china

It launched simultaneously in 100 countries, while its Swedish rival laid groundwork over years in order to get to its current position.

In many ways, it’s classic Apple. Allow rivals to do the hard yards and then swoop in with a tight take on a competitor’s product.

The reality is though that Apple Music remains a long way behind other such apps available for the iPhone and iPad.

Music-lovers seem unconvinced and there are enough caveats about its successful launch to wonder just how many of those 10 million are active users, listening to tunes daily and tending to playlists.

Apple is unlikely to reveal such details, so until such a time, it’s no surprise that many will speculate as to whether the service is all it’s cracked up to be.

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