Apple Music

Music industry researcher Russ Crupnick has risked the wrath of Cupertino by releasing the results of a survey – since widely covered in the media – claiming that 48% of people who’ve tried Apple Music are not currently using the service.

Apple was so unimpressed, in fact, that the company directly refuted the claim, telling The Verge that in fact 79% of people who signed up for its new streaming service are still using it.

The company hasn’t yet tackled Crupnick’s other claims from on his survey of 5,000 US consumers earlier this month. For example, 77% of American iOS users are aware of Apple Music, with 11% currently using it – with a similar percentage among consumers who currently buy music from iTunes or use it to manage their music collections.

The report also claimed that 64% of current Apple Music users say they are extremely or very likely to pay once the three-month free trial ends, although 61% have turned off the auto-renewing subscription option, meaning that they’ll have to actively sign up to pay if they want to continue as members.

With these figures, and Apple’s previous public stat of 11m trial users for Apple Music, we can refine our calculations about the service’s potential impact.

If Crupnick is right and 48% of those trialists have drifted away, and 64% of the remaining users convert to paying subscribers, that would mean around 3.4m subscribers from this initial batch of users – a solid third place in the music subscriptions market behind Spotify and Deezer after just three months.

If we use Apple’s 79% stat as the base for our prediction, we’re left with 5.6m subscribers, snapping at Deezer’s heels. And this before the full marketing campaign kicks off, not to mention a new batch of iPhones in the autumn.

How about the impact on rivals? Crupnick claims that 28% of Spotify Premium subscribers are also trying Apple Music, but only 11% of Spotify Free users, and 6% of Pandora users.

We need a lot more data on this front, but there are already indications – backed up by anecdotal evidence shared with Music Ally by labels – that Apple Music is showing signs of attracting a decent number of new users (and soon subscribers) into the streaming market, rather than simply sucking them away from Spotify and other established rivals.

That would be a positive trend for the industry, but let’s see what the conversion rate actually is come the start of October – what people actually do when faced with a monthly £9.99 payment rather than what they say they’re likely to do.

And also let’s see how Apple plans to persuade the 66% of iOS users who are aware of Apple Music but not using it to give it a try – as well as the 89m-ish iTunes music buyers globally who weren’t in that initial 11m batch of trial users.

The story here is less about lots of drop-outs, and more about high potential for growth – but also plenty of work to do to realise it.

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