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Is Apple Music Really So Terrible?

Apple Music has been rather less of a success than I, and probably many at Apple thought. Given the huge installed iOS user base, strong customer loyalty and a heritage in the iPod that suggests strong links to music listening, it wasn't a difficult call to say that Spotify was toast.

Yet here we are, nearly a couple of years down the line and Apple Music appears to be fading away from Spotify, which continues to pick up users at a faster rate, consolidating its place as number one in the market.

So a report from Verto last week (who?) which suggested that Apple had a massive lead in mobile streaming just doesn't seem to add up.

Based on a survey of 20,000 users Verto reported the Apple had more than 40 million users on mobile devices, both iPhones and iPads. That rather jibes with the most recent subscriber numbers Apple reported - 20 million, or a 100% discrepancy.

Either Apple Music had a lot of non paying users or Verto's counting methods are suspect.

Given Verto's breakdown of its numbers to 36 million iPhone listeners and 7 million iPad users, there's an obvious miscounting error there. It's probably safe to say that all seven million iPad listeners are also listening on their iPhone and shouldn't be double counted.

Which still leaves us with 16 million free listeners. On a service that's growing by around 2-3 million subscribers a quarter. That three month free trial isn't doing a great job of converting trialists into subscribers. Especially considering the loyalty considerations I mentioned before.

The natural assumption must be that there is something seriously wrong with Apple Music which is turning off potential customers.

Of those 16 million free users I'd be very interested to find out how many are already Spotify subscribers and why Apple is struggling to get them to convert.

Far from being toast, it seems that Apple Music has boosted Spotify's performance. A case of the rising tide lifting all ships, or signs of a misstep in Apple's streaming strategy?