Less than a month after the launch of streaming service Apple Music, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook announced that “Millions and millions of customers are already experiencing Apple Music and the number is growing substantially every day” as part of today’s poorly-received Q3 earnings report. The question will be how many users continue to pay once their free trials expire and they are automatically billed $10 a month.
Cook noted on today’s earnings call that 15,000 artists are already sharing social updates including unreleased songs and videos on Apple Music’s Connect tab. For example, rapper Drake premiered his new music video on the service. Cook also said that millions of people are listening to the apps Beats 1 radio station.
While vague, the number ranges shows progress for Apple’s successor to its iTunes download store. It’s important to note that Apple Music offers a free three-month trial. Of course, the Apple Music app came with a software update on July 1st that went out to hundreds of millions of iPhones. With that pre-install base, Apple shouldn’t have had trouble getting a least a few million to give its streaming service a shot.
Apple jump started development of it streaming service by acquiring Beats Music, a streaming service sharing a brand name with the Beats Electronics headphone business. That app was shut down and users migrated to Apple Music, which may have contributed to the subscriber base.
Apple Music competes with more established services like Spotify and Google Music. For comparison, Apple Music’s top competitor Spotify has 75 million total listeners, breaking down to 55 million ad-supported free tier users and 20 million paying subscribers.
But Apple Music’s real opportunity it recruiting $10 a month subscribers from the vast majority of people who’ve never seriously streamed music. Hundreds of millions use iTunes, so today’s report is just the first step in a long journey shifting Apple from a music download sale to a streaming subscription company.