That remains the case, but some figures have leaked out this week – seemingly via a presentation given to investors in February on the streaming service’s progress so far.
Bloomberg published the stats yesterday, claiming that Beats Music signed up around 28,000 paying subscribers in January before its partnership with telco AT&T kicked in.
The article also claims that the latter deal “created a pipeline of 750,000 potential subscribers who signed up for 30-day and 90-day free trials starting Jan. 31″, and that “as those trials end, more than 70 percent are converting to paid subscribers”.
That’s a surprisingly-high conversion rate, although given the timescales, Bloomberg’s “people with knowledge of the situation” are presumably referring to the people who signed up for 30-day trials in the first week or two after Beats Music launched – which may indicate that they’re the keenest users who’d be most likely to convert to paying subscribers.
It would be wise to wait until May – when the first 90-day trials have ended – to get a more accurate picture of how sticky Beats Music is once people have to stump up to keep listening.
That’s why Billboard’s suggestion that the reported figures “would translate to roughly 525,000 new subscribers” generating $5.52m of monthly revenues for Beats Music is a little premature, as it’s unknown how many of the 750,000 early adopters are on 90-day rather than 30-day trials. The company is certainly ambitious, with Beats exec Jimmy Iovine having said in January that “my first goal is 500,000 people and we’ll kill ourselves to get there”.
The RIAA said earlier this week that the US ended 2013 with 6.1m paying subscribers for music services, so Beats Music has the chance to make a notable impact in 2014 even if its conversion rate ultimately ends up somewhere south of the claimed 70%. Meanwhile the competition with existing streaming services, including Beats’ determination to throw serious money at marketing, is also good news for the industry.