File under: hmmmmm. Hits Daily Double has run a story claiming there are 10m people using Apple Music since its launch at the end of June. Apple has not officially commented on this or the launch apart from a reference in an earnings call last week where Tim Cook said that “millions and millions” of people were using the service and Beats 1.
The piece is light on details and carries no quotes at all from the omnipotent “insider sources”, but it does say the figures came from major label sources who are bound by “ironclad” NDAs. It adds that the industry is surprised at the level of adoption at this early stage in the service’s launch cycle. It is suggested that they want Apple to go public with the numbers to show how successful it has been out of the gate – but that is down to Eddy Cue.
This all follows quotes circulating from Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews last week who said the launch of Apple Music had “no impact” on its listener numbers. This quote has been recycled endlessly as “proof” that Apple Music has somehow failed already, but not explaining that a radio-style service and an on-demand service are not direct competitors (if they were talking about iTunes Radio that would be a different matter) and in fact are courting very different audiences.
Going back to the Hits Daily Double leak, the use of the term “subscribers” in the piece is a curious one. They are not subscribers. Not yet. They signed up for three months of free access, although they did have to give over credit card details so that payments would kick in when the trial ended – but they could cancel before that happened. They might forget, but when they see $10 a month going of their account and are not actually using it, that will soon come to an end.
If these numbers are right, there are a few ways to look at it. The first is to take the total number of iTunes accounts (800m) and see that as a mere 1.25% conversion rate and roar about how pathetic this all is. But, as previously reported by Music Ally, that 800m figure is hugely misleading. It is for all iOS devices that need to be linked to a credit card to be activated and it therefore also covers people only interested in apps or video content and who have never shown any interest in music. The actual number of iTunes customers who buy music is, according to multiple industry sources Music Ally has spoken to, actually 100m. So that means, if these leaked numbers are correct, we are looking a conversion rate of 10% which suddenly seems a lot healthier.
Of course, keeping those 10m users (if that is how many there are) on the services when October rolls around and the free trial ends is another matter entirely. That said, inevitable comparisons will be made here between Apple Music and Spotify with its 20m paying subscribers. Yet it took the company eight years to get to that figure so trying to force a parallel with Spotify after less than a month of Apple Music being live is a fool’s errand.