Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine Discuss State of Streaming and Growth of Apple Music

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One of the biggest updates announced for iOS 10 centers around the new design of Apple Music, which the company hopes will simplify its music streaming service into one that better introduces its users to new favorite songs, and is less of a hassle to navigate than the current version.

To discuss the nuances of the revamped service, Eddy Cue, Jimmy Iovine, Trent Reznor, and Robert Kondrk sat down with Billboard, commenting on the importance of Beats 1, the steady growth of Apple Music, and the much-talked-about slow death of downloaded music in iTunes.

apple music ios 10 update
Billboard asked Cue and Reznor about a "streaming-only future," but the former reassured fans who prefer to download music by saying that "there's no end date" to paid music services like iTunes, which "is doing very well," Cue said. Reznor admits that such a future is probably inevitable, but doesn't see why paid and streaming music couldn't coexist simultaneously, similar to the niche buyers market of vinyl records today.

Eddy Cue: There’s no end date, and as a matter of fact, they should all be surprised and thankful to the results that they’re seeing because our music iTunes business is doing very well. Downloads weren’t growing, and certainly are not going to grow again, but it’s not declining anywhere near as fast as any of them predicted or thought it would. There are a lot of people who download music and are happy with it and they’re not moving towards subscriptions. We talked about subscriptions bringing a lot of new customers in, people who have never bought music. And if you look at Apple’s music revenue on a quarterly basis, because of subscriptions and because of sales, it’s now higher; it’s actually growing, which is great for the labels.

Trent Reznor: It feels as though we’ve turned a corner in terms of the adoption of streaming. I think it’s inevitable that downloads will diminish, much like CDs. But I’ve started buying vinyl -- probably out of nostalgia, but also there’s something about a physical thing that has meaning to me as an artist. I think coexistence can take place.

When addressing the concern that Beats 1 wasn't directly mentioned during the WWDC keynote, Iovine promised that "Beats 1 is going to be creating a lot more content as well," besides being a part of the overall Apple Music design change. This content encompasses video, according to Iovine, who didn't directly mention which rumored scripted TV project this might entail, but said the team is currently focusing on the "impact" the radio service has as part of the overall music ecosystem at Apple.

As usual, Cue wasn't ready to divulge specific numbers regarding the conversion rates of users transferring from Apple Music's three month free trial to a paid subscription, but he did say that the team has "been very happy with the results we’ve seen." As confirmed during yesterday's keynote, the service has also reached 15 million subscribers a few weeks ahead of its one year anniversary later in June.

You can read the full interview between Billboard and the Apple Music executives here.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
57 months ago
It may be the New World Order, but I'm being dragged there kicking and screaming. The big problems with streaming IMO: without an Internet connection, I have no music; if I stop paying a monthly fee, I have no music; if I download music but then stop paying, I have no music. The music is no longer my collection, but Apple's. I'm paying for the privilege just to listen. If it cost $5 a month, I'd consider the drawbacks a reasonable trade-off. But at double that price, it's a non-starter for me.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
57 months ago
I purchase music and subscribe to streaming services. Streaming allows me access to a lot of music; if I like it enough, I buy it. Even after I buy it I tend to stream so the artist continues to get a little more money.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
57 months ago

I purchase music and subscribe to streaming services. Streaming allows me access to a lot of music; if I like it enough, I buy it. Even after I buy it I tend to stream so the artist continues to get a little more money.

That....makes no sense.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
57 months ago
Apple Music appeals to the masses who just wanna hear the newest top hits and some old favourites. But for people who really care about music (like Steve Jobs) you have to own the music you buy. You don't want a situation where an artist or their label kicks up a stink about money and takes their library away from the service.

Myself that's my fear. I listen to music I got 10 years ago and new music. So I cannot spend £9.99 a month on streaming. I'd rather buy all the songs and be safe in the knowledge they can never be taken away from me.

So I'm glad Apple is going to continue to offer downloads through the iTunes store.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
57 months ago

There's no end date, and as a matter of fact, they should all be surprised and thankful to the results that they're seeing because our music iTunes business is doing very well. Downloads weren't growing, and certainly are not going to grow again, but it's not declining anywhere near as fast as any of them predicted or thought it would. There are a lot of people who download music and are happy with it and they're not moving towards subscriptions. We talked about subscriptions bringing a lot of new customers in, people who have never bought music. And if you look at Apple's music revenue on a quarterly basis, because of subscriptions and because of sales, it's now higher; it's actually growing, which is great for the labels.

Does anyone else feel like Eddy Cue talks a lot like Trump?

Not subject matter wise, but his style seems very similar.

<Surprising statement>, and as a matter of fact, they all (never specified who) should be surprised and thankful for the results that they're seeing. <Good thing> wasn't growing, and certainly isn't going to grow again, but it's not decling anywhere near as fast as any of them (again, never specified who - Trump might choose to vaguely refer to them as "haters" or "losers") predicted or thought it would. There are a lot of people who <surprising thing> and are happy with it and they're not moving towards <new thing>. We talked about <new thing> bringing in a lot of new people, people who have never <whatever>. And if you look at <my success>, because <new thing>, it's now higher; it's actually growing, which is great for <everyone>.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
57 months ago

That....makes no sense.

Well, maybe it's his way to donate somehow? Sounding weired though :)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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