Sorry, no new Apple Music stats to report from Eddy Cue’s appearance at the Code Media conference overnight: the official figure remains 20 million subscribers, although Cue did make it clear that Apple Music’s growth has continued since that milestone was announced in early December.
“We’re well past 20 million, we haven’t announced the latest number but we’re thrilled with it. It’s the fastest growing subscription service we know of, whether it’s video, music… in its first 15 months,” he said.
“The world today has less than 100 million people subscribing to music, and there’s billions of people listening to music, so we still think the potential for growth is exponential. So no, we’re not satisfied and we want a lot more.”
Cue also clarified Apple’s views when it comes to artist exclusives, suggesting that they are fine as time-limited promotions, but that the company accepts that longer-term windowing of an artist’s new album or entire catalogue to one service is “never good” for the wider industry.
“In general, I think the exclusives are promotions. The world has always had promotions, and I think it’ll continue to do that. Our promotions with Drake have been great because we’ve done some things together like the movie, like music videos, other things that are unique, that by us working with him together from the very beginning of what he’s working on, we’re able to do unique things,” said Cue, citing Chance the Rapper as another example of this early support.
But on that question of whether longer-term exclusives are harmful: “I think it’s great for the music business for there to be competition, and for subscription to grow. That’s what’s great for the music business, and that’s what we’re doing – ourselves and others,” he said.
“There are ways to do that, and we will try different ways. Ultimately it’s never good for the music industry if it was separated on a long-term basis. But on a promotional basis, on acts that we’re doing unique and exclusive things, or others are doing unique things, I think that’s great for music.”
Apple’s partnership with Drake was a good illustration of this: although Apple Music had a two-week exclusive on his last album ‘Views’, it was then made available elsewhere, becoming one of the biggest hits of the year on Spotify and other rivals.
In truth, Cue’s comments on exclusives are no surprise. Unlike Tidal, Apple has not pursued long-term lockouts of the music itself, but has rather focused on other kinds of exclusive, music-related content. Taylor Swift’s tour documentary being one example.
Cue also used his appearance at Code Media to confirm that Apple’s ‘Planet of the Apps’ reality show, which follows the development of apps, will debut on Apple Music this spring globally. Its first trailer has also been released this morning: