Apple Music Is Growing More Slowly Than Expected


Apple began offering a discounted Apple Music subscription yesterday, and I speculated that this was either because the service was doing really well or really badly. Turns out its a bit of both.

Today Apple announced subscriber numbers were up, hitting 17 million. That’s a run rate of just over one million a month since its launch last June. Not bad. However, as it had 15 million subscribers in June the run rate has actually fallen recently. Not good.

Worse still, between Apple Music’s launch and today Spotify has actually grown by 19 million subscribers – about 12% faster than Apple Music.

Having failed to win by competing on exclusives – which I believe music subscription buyers don’t like or want – and by playing on its radio stations and personalised content; it looks like Apple has fallen back to price as its key differentiator.

However, with more than 60% of Spotify’s use 100 million listeners using the free, ad-supported service, I’d guess that’s not a battle Apple is in a position to win.

I continue to be amazed by Spotify’s ability to convert free listeners to paying subscribers, something it continues to get better at. Shame the music industry in general doesn’t see the value in that particular achievement.


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