Apple Music Growing at Record Pace With Two Million Subscribers Added in Just Five Weeks
Apple's services chief Eddy Cue, who spoke at the SXSW media festival in Austin, Texas this week, revealed that Apple Music now has 38 million paying subscribers worldwide. Cue also said there are over eight million customers that are currently taking advantage of Apple Music's free three-month trial period.
The Wall Street Journal confirmed that Apple Music had 36 million subscribers in a February 4 report, so it appears the streaming music service has gained around two million subscribers in just over five weeks.
The numbers suggest Apple Music is growing at a clip of roughly 400,000 subscribers per week, or 1.6 million per month. Accordingly, it would appear to be Apple Music's fastest growth rate since it launched in June 2015, at least based on the figures that Apple has publicly shared over the past three years.
Apple Music Subscribers
- Oct 2015: 6.5 million
- Jan 2016: 10 million
- Feb 2016: 11 million
- Apr 2016: 13 million
- Jun 2016: 15 million
- Sep 2016: 17 million
- Dec 2016: 20 million
- Jun 2017: 27 million
- Sep 2017: 30 million
- Feb 2018: 36 million
- Mar 2018: 38 million
Spotify maintains a sizeable lead over Apple Music. The streaming music service revealed that it had 71 million paying subscribers as of the end of 2017, so it should be around twice as large as Apple Music by now. Spotify also has a free, ad-supported tier, giving it over 159 million listeners overall around the world.
Apple Music appears to be gaining ground on Spotify, however, and could reportedly eclipse its biggest rival in terms of U.S. subscribers later this year. The chart below from Apple analyst Horace Dediu is based on global subscribers.
Spotify launched in 2008, and expanded to the United States in 2011, while Apple Music debuted in over 100 countries at once in 2015. Both platforms offer individual subscriptions for $9.99 per month, student plans for $4.99 per month, and family plans sharable with up to six people for $14.99 per month.
Apple Music has the benefit of being preinstalled on hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads. It's also available on Mac, PC, Android, Apple Watch, Apple TV, vehicles equipped with CarPlay, Sonos, and HomePod.
At SXSW, Cue estimated there are around two billion people that have access to and a means to pay for streaming music, suggesting the market is ripe for growth. Apple Music and Spotify have around 110 million subscribers combined, so there is clearly an opportunity for both services to continue growing.
The harder task for Spotify will be turning a profit, which it has yet to do. Apple Music executive and record industry mogul Jimmy Iovine recently said streaming music services are "not making any money" due to a lack of margins, suggesting that a standard $9.99 per month subscription is not profitable.
Apple Music's profitability is likely less of a concern for Apple, as it sells a wide range of other products and services. Apple's broad services category brought in a record $8.5 billion revenue last quarter, up 18 percent year over year.