Tim Cook Says Apple Music Has 6.5M Paying Users

It’s been three and a half months since Apple Music launched and, with the first wave of users’ free three-month trial periods coming to a close at the end of October, Apple has given a taste of how it is faring. Company CEO Tim Cook said the service currently has 6.5 million paying users. On top of that, Cook shared that there are 8.5 million people using the free trial right now.

Back in August, Apple said that it had 11 million people on the trial, so it converted just over half of them into paid users. (More on that below.) Apple Music’s figures are some way short of Spotify’s 20 million paying customer base, but it’s not a bad effort for the new service — which isn’t yet available on Android and has no free listening option. That former is important in emerging markets, while the latter can help snare more conservative users and convert them to paying customers later.

Huge caveat though: music streaming services are fairly notorious for muddying the waters when it comes to user numbers. Deezer, the French firm that is going public this month, claims 6.3 million paying ‘subscribers’, for instance, yet just 1.5 million are actual paying members.

Apple Music may be similarly vague with its big numbers, since a decent chunk of that 6.5 million may be people who forgot to cancel their free trial and involuntarily became paying members. That might sound easily avoidable but it happened to some staffers at TechCrunch. I’ll spare the names and save their embarrassment — the point is that it is very easy to become a paying Apple Music customer without necessarily meaning to be one.

Cook, who was speaking at the Wall Street Journal’s Live event, also discussed Apple’s plans for CarPlay, security and the new Apple TV, which he revealed is launching next week. The Apple supremo didn’t, however, give sales figures for Apple Watch — you’ll have to wait on that.