Apple Music claims 20m paying subscribers, catching up on Spotify fast

8 Dec 201610 Shares

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After just 18 months in business, Apple Music now has half as many paying subscribers as Spotify. Image: Vasin Lee/Shutterstock

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Apple Music is playing a catch-up game with Spotify and now has half as many paying subscribers – or 20m customers – after just 18 months in business.

Tech giant Apple last night revealed that it has just crossed the 20m paying subscriber mark, up from 17m in September – a 15pc jump in just three months.

By comparison, Spotify – which has been in business since 2008 – had around 40m paying subscribers as of September 2016.

‘Of course we want more and we want it to go faster – we’re hungry!’
– ZANE LOWE

Apple’s SVP of internet software and products, Eddy Cue, revealed that 60pc of customers who use Apple Music have not bought content from the iTunes Store in the past year.

He said that this signals Apple has tapped into a rich vein of formerly dormant users, as well as new users.

Apple Music is currently available in 100 countries and more than 50pc of subscribers are outside the US.

Apple wants to take a bigger slice of the music industry pie

In an interview with entertainment industry bible Billboard, Cue said that Apple Music intends to be the home of more exclusive launches for artists like Drake, Beyoncé and Chance the Rapper.

“It’s been quite a year,” Cue said. “We were thrilled to see that we could take [artists’] passions and drive them all the way to number one.

“Chance the Rapper, who we put on Apple Music exclusively, hit the top 10 on the Billboard charts [based on streams alone], and I can’t recall that being done before.”

Apple is tremendously ambitious about its plans for Apple Music and wants to take a significant slice of the pie.

According to former BBC DJ and Apple Music tastemaker, Zane Lowe (of Beats 1), Apple is only getting started and while it trails Spotify by 20m, there is a bigger prize.

“Of course we want more and we want it to go faster – we’re hungry!

“We can’t forget that, as an industry, we still have very few music subscribers. There are billions of people listening to music and we haven’t even hit 100m subscribers. There’s a lot of growth opportunity.”

Apple Music claims 20m paying subscribers, catching up on Spotify fast

Number of paying Spotify subscribers worldwide from July 2010 to September 2016 (in millions). Image: Statista

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com