Eddy Cue, Apple's SVP of Internet Software and Services, tells Billboard that 60% of Apple Music subscribers have not bought content from the iTunes Music Store in the last year. While a portion of that 60% are dormant users, Cue says "the vast majority are new customers." Additionally, 50% of Apple Music subscribers live outside of the U.S.
Cue also says that artists exclusive to Apple Music have hit milestones like the Billboard top 10 chart.
"It's been quite a year," says Cue. "We were thrilled to see that we could take [artists'] passions and drive them all the way to No. 1. 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."In August, Universal Music Group banned exclusive music streaming after the debut of Frank Ocean's "Blonde" on Apple Music. Cue says that exclusive music will continue on the service "where appropriate." He says that exclusive launches work "well for everybody involved," including the label, artists and Apple. Cue notes that there's no across-the-board policy for exclusive launches, just that sometimes "it makes sense" to launch exclusively.
While Apple has traditionally aligned itself with rock acts like U2, Cue says the company has long wanted to give hip hop more exposure. The company has felt that hip hop was underrepresented in both iTunes and streaming charts, which is why the company has focused on hip hop acts more recently.
Apple's biggest competition in the streaming music space remains Spotify, which had 40 million subscribers in September, but the service continues to struggle as it attempts to become profitable. In August, it was reported the service was punishing artists who offered Apple Music exclusives. Spotify denied the claim.