Are 11 million Apple Music subscribers – during a free trial in over 100 countries – worth bragging about?

“Is 11 million Apple Music subs anything to brag about?” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune. “That puts it in sixth place behind Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Radio, SiriusXM and Deezer.”

“Eddy Cue, Apple’s veteran content dealmaker, pronounced himself ‘thrilled’ with the number,” P.E.D. reports. “Music producer Jimmy Iovine, Apple’s $3 billion acquire from Beats and Interscope Records, was ‘pleasantly shocked.'”

“But is 11 million in four weeks anything to brag about? Jackdaw Research’s Jan Dawson is not so sure,” P.E.D. reports. “‘In the context of other music services, Apple Music has made a great start,’ he wrote in a Monday morning post to his Tech.pinions subscribers. ‘But in the context of Apple’s overall base, it’s made a pretty slow start.’ …Apple has still got plenty of time. Apple Music only one month into the three-month free trial period, and because it’s opt-in, enough subscribers will probably stick around to put it ahead of all the rest of the paid services except Sirius and Spotify.”

Subscriber numbers for select music streaming services:
(active users / paid users in millions)

Sirius XM: 28.4/23.4
Spotify: 75/20
Deezer: 16/6
Pandora: 79.4/3.9
Rhapsody: 3/3
Apple Music: 11/
iTunes Radio: 40/

Source: Jackdaw Research estimates

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last Thursday:

Despite Cue’s claims of being “thrilled,” doesn’t 11 million seem a bit paltry for a free trial that launched in over 100 countries over a month ago? 11 million free trial users? That’s it? With more than 1/3rd of the trial period now gone? This might be a harder sell than most, including Apple (with their rumored goal of 100 million subscribers), initially thought.

Apple Music has 11 million trial members, App Store has July record $1.7 billion – August 6, 2015


  1. I didn’t even bother trying it because I know I won’t pay the money to stream music that I won’t have time to listen to. Which is the same reason I’ve not tried any other service. What will be interesting is what percentage of the 11m are new to any sort of subscription service, and how many use something else and then how many will stick with Apple.

    1. Ah yes the time. That’s the great subscription killer. And the older we get the less time we seem to have for it with so many other things in life (and distractions) commanding our interest.

      And if dubious talents like Dr. Dre are the kind of promoted thing the Apple subscription arsenal has out in front, they’re in deep doodoo. For all of the advice of Jimmy Iovine I don’t see a lot of follow through music marketing brilliance consistent throughout Apple Music. Jimmy may be great at producing hit records but a decided step down as a music technology visionary. Not that all the “blame” is at his feet alone.

      1. Apple should’ve hired music producer Bruce Dickinson who puts on his pants one leg at a time, but then produces hit records & probably music subscription services. Apple Music needs to start playing more of the hell outta that marketing & UI cowbell.

      2. No, Jimmy just took the money. It’s Apple who made the big mistake. Services, they just can’t do services at Apple. Unbelievable! Looks like you didn’t get rid of the right people after all Timmy.

  2. It needs to be better marketed.
    It needs to be clear to all music consumers what exactly is being sold.
    A simple campaign would work that illustrates the vast number of tracks available for a fairly paltry $10 a month and on demand. I just don’t know if the average consumer has any clue what the service is.

  3. Every Apple play is a long play. Dissing the Watch or Apple Music is ludicrous when they’re both just months into their first year of sales existence. Let’s talk in three years if these are failed products, or in fact part of Apple’s tradition of slow-build transformation. That said, music is an uphill battle, because the culture of music consumption has changed so completely. Subscription services are basically trying to convince people to either start paying for music again, or for the first time. Apple Music gives Apple the position of default for all iOS users. That’s worked to huge success for the much maligned Apple Maps, which dominates iOS maps usage. And was HATED on arrival. It improved with time, took a few years to get there, but there it is. Dominance isn’t instantaneous. It’s chess, and the win comes many moves down the line.

    1. Agreed. I think everyone is looking more at what they paid for the acquisition. So everyone is expecting a far bigger return more quickly. Sometimes it takes awhile to get the uptake.

      As you’ve said, it will be a long play.

  4. I’ve been using the Apple Music service since it was announced and I’ve found that the new app is rather confusing to use and very difficult to navigate. I much prefer Spotify or Google Music even!

  5. That was my reaction as well. Considering that iOS’ user base exceeds 800 million, capturing less than 1.5% of that customer base during a free trial is not particularly impressive. Over 40% of the iOS user base upgraded to iOS 8.4 within the first two weeks. And even with all of the on-screen promotion and forced migration of functionality in the Music app and Settings, the uptake still seems low.

    The worst part of Apple Music is how it has screwed with iTunes and the iOS Music app functionality by trying to shoehorn a DRM-embedded streaming service into a DRM-free music file management application. It would be one thing if Apple simply added a separate streaming service. But, the way that they have tried to integrate Apple Music into their other music app functions has diminished the user experience for the 98+% of iOS users who do not subscribe to Apple Music.

    The annoyances are especially prominent for iTunes Match users. I used to be able to listen to cached songs offline. Not anymore, and I assume this has something to do with the rights negotiations for Apple Music. And the Radio function no longer allows me to save favorite stations. It’s all “Recently Played” stations.

    And when the three-month trial is over, we’ll find out more about any damage that Apple Music does to music libraries when people start canceling the service.

  6. I’ve already turned off “auto renew”. Beats and streaming is not for me. As for the interface itself? I find it lousy. Maybe to much… Still not sure but not a fan. iTunes is a mess and needs an overhaul. Where is this good year Tim promised? I’m still not seeing it.

  7. I sure as hell will never use it. Unless Marilyn Manson (my favorite, and basically all I ever listen to) starts coming out with as many albums as Buckethead (averaged one full new album a week for years now), then I will never ever feel the need to pay extra just to stream the same music I already own. They get my money for iTunes Match, because I want all of MY music available across all my devices without having to store or sync, but that’s as far as it goes. I don’t give an eff about new artists or popular music.

    1. Apple Music is really only good for people who buy well more than 12 albums per year. I say “well more than” because when you buy, you own forever, but when you stream you “own” nothing. Otherwise, if you buy fewer than 12 albums per year then just buy the albums and forget Apple Music. I buy about one song per month, plus one or two albums each year. No Apple Music for me.

      I guess it’s probably also for kids who aren’t cool unless they’ve heard all of the latest shitty music.

      1. Apple Music is like paying 1800/month to rent a house your whole life, when you could have paid a 1200/month mortgage for 30 years and paid off on the same house.

        They want you to pay $10 a month for the rest of your life just so you can continue listening to the same music you could have bought once no strings attached.

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