Apple Music still trails Spotify’s growth rate

“Apple may be betting on new products such as Apple Pay, Apple Watch, and Apple Music to diversify its revenue streams,” Rachel Gunter writes for Market Realist. “However, the company is likely to face an uphill battle in nurturing its streaming music business, Apple Music.”

“Parsing through the data recently shared by Apple and its rivals suggests that while Apple Music is growing its subscriber base rapidly, it still trails the growth rate of its primary rival — Spotify,” Gunter writes. “Apple recently said that globally, Apple Music’s paid subscriptions had reached 20 million. This figure suggests a growth of 15% within three months… ~1 million subscribers per month.”

“Spotify had 30 million paying subscribers in March and reported 40 million paying subscribers in September,” Gunter writes. “This increase marks an additional ~1.6 million paying subscribers in each month between March and September 2016.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: That’s too small a time period to provide much meaningful data. Apple Music will be just fine.

SEE ALSO:
Apple Music surpasses 20 million paid members 17 months after launch – December 6, 2016
Apple offers students half-price $4.99 Apple Music subscriptions starting today – May 6, 2016

18 Comments

  1. Spotify’s main advantage over Apple is the existence of its free tier, which isn’t quite the same as Apple’s three-month trial. For the trial, you must sign up (with your Apple ID, and a valid credit card), and pick a plan (individual, family). While it is free for three months, it is quite clear to the user that it is a commitment, and the only way to get out of it is ti remember when the three months are up and cancel the service. Quite many people simply avoid these types of trials with automatic conversion. Knowing themselves, they understand that they will end up paying for something they didn’t originally intend to.

    And let us make no mistake here; a good percentage of Apple Music subscribers were simply curious explorers, who signed up for the trial because it was free, and simply forgot to cancel and ended up paying for the subscription. Eventually, they got the bill from Apple, and decided that it isn’t worth the bother to cancel.

    With Spotify, people can explore for as long as they want. The free tier is free indefinitely. While there is pressure to sell (as well as the annoying commercials), there is no automatic conversion. And once those annoying ads become too annoying, the decision to subscribe is easy (much easier than switching to Apple Music, which, while well-integrated into Apple ecosystem, still has much clunkier UI than Spotify).

    Apple Music may well be just fine, thanks to a significantly larger library (as well as exclusive content), but it isn’t a clean winner against Spotify.

  2. I love the ADHD/ADD instant “take no prisoners” mentality of the market media expecting tsunami/avalanche overnight numbers results. A pity there’s no more adult supervision in the media in general (nor many adults in their audience). Sorry all you bombastic journalistic junior hacks, not every headline can be earth-shattering sensation. (Not if you’re honest with yourself and that scruple has long since left the building.)

  3. Apple used to have a free service but it was discontinued when the subscription came out.
    They may need to rethink that now that it is clear that subscriptions is the growth area in the industry. More bandwidth demands but allow users to get hooked into the system before buying into it.

  4. Correct. Spotify’s free service is the gateway to its paid service and is VOLUNTARY.

    Apple’s free (with a credit card) trial service is an embarrassing backdoor billing scam.

    And of course the Apple Music / iTunes / Cloud Tunes / iMusic / iCloud Drive / iTunes Match ecosystem is a straight-up disaster.

    Apple — try to keep up, please. I want to like your products but you’re making it impossible.

  5. I like Apple Music, however, it seems difficult to maneuver and cumbersome. Spotify has a certain feel that is easy and more enjoyable. Apple Music has more music but is a pain to use.

  6. iTunes has north of 800 million plus accounts that can buy music, movies, TV. Supposedly it is dead and yesterday’s news.

    Apple has been pimping Beats Music rebranded Apple Music with a shiteous app for a very long time now, and they have 20 million subscribers. 20 million for the technology of the future compared to close to billion for what is supposed to be old. Something is fishy here.

    I do not think people want to rent Music, Real Networks and Microsoft did this long before Pandora and Spotify and the combined numbers of rental services still pale to selling people Music.
    I think the companies involved want to gain a steady stream of renters to milk customers. This is as bad as milking customers with subscription software and in app purchases. Apple under Tim Cook is clueless and following the crowd rather than leading the business. Apple made it’s reputation by leading the industry- not following the actions of others. They also had a reputation of respecting customers- not seeing them as cash cows to be milked.

    The problems the music, movie and TV businesses have are related to greed and intransigence in the face of disruption. Shitty, lossy files are priced at the same point as a lossless high quality CD. You buy the CD and you own it and can legally transfer the disc, buy a digital download and the story is very different. You are paying the same price for an inferior product. Likewise, I can buy a DVD or BluRay of a movie and rip it in full quality with no DRM for the same price or less than a digital file with DRM and lower quality. The BetaMax Case says it is legal for personal use. The DMCA is in this issue an unenforceable mess.

    Big Media Companies are for the most part clueless and scrambling trying to cling to old models and profit centers in the face of a completely disrupted market. Apple needs to shoot the moon and stop compartmentalizing content. If they want to sell a subscription, why not one fee for music, TV, movies, magazines & websites flat rate? Get a bundle of channels and let the end user choose what they look at, read or listen to. Divide the revenue pool to content creators based upon useage. This is a version of a free market that would put the consumer in charge and make content creators and owners compete for the business. Apple has the money to pull this off but needs to get rid of people trapped in selling Buggy Ships in the age of Space Travel.

    Mr Cook, instead of financial engineering (stock buybacks, borrowing, etc) put the cash pile to work creating the future. Apple has always done best when leading and using first mover advantage. The Apple of the Cook era is a follower and iterator in the manner of Steve Ballmer. All we need is a video of Tim Cook skipping on a stage shouting developers, developers, developers, developers…

    1. I agree with most of what you say, but…

      I’m not a big fan of renting music, but I do subscribe to Apple Music, mostly for listening to stations or listen to albums before buying.

      One big thing that changed from the Janus/Rhapsody/Napster and the many other subscription services years ago and Spotify/Apple Music is that our music devices now have WiFi and cell service as well as app ecosystems.

      Like it or not, subscription music services are here for the long term, and Apple can either participate in this or be left behind. Apple Music is still really young and many things need to be fleshed out, but at this point to be over 20 million is pretty good IMHO.

      “Shitty, lossy files are priced at the same point as a lossless high quality CD.”

      I don’t believe the overwhelming majority can hear, let alone appreciate, the difference between 256kbps AAC and a CD, while on the other hand, I do believe most people do appreciate the lower data rate and storage required as compared to lossless formats like FLAC or ALAC.

      “You buy the CD and you own it and can legally transfer the disc, buy a digital download and the story is very different.”

      You have the same rights and capabilities for purchased downloads from the iTunes Music Store (and most others).

      “Likewise, I can buy a DVD or BluRay of a movie and rip it in full quality with no DRM for the same price or less than a digital file with DRM and lower quality.”

      Likewise, the law and the technical capability is the same here. DVD and Blu-ray both have DRM. When you rip a DVD/BR, you’re violating the DMCA. It can still be done, but you can also strip the copy protection from a movie/tv show from iTunes (and other stores). Neither is legal, but it’s quicker/easier to strip from an iTunes movie download.

      As far as quality, yes BR is superior quality, but not by much. A HD iTunes movie is much closer in BR quality than it is to DVD quality. Again, most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. The big file size savings on iTunes movies comes from single language tracks due to region specific downloads and lack of extras. The resolution is the same (1080p) although the compression level does favor BR.

      “If they want to sell a subscription, why not one fee for music, TV, movies, magazines & websites flat rate? “

      Certainly Apple knows this, but the issue is with the rights owners.

      1. I think DavGreg was spot on throughout.

        Apple’s problem is they want music rental and music collection management in a single app, which has resulted in a clusterfuck. I don’t care if Apple feels the need to chase industry trends, just stop forcing it onto legacy programs that used to be top notch. iTunes was ruined in large part by the push to emphasize media purchase and now rental. It does neither well.

        Lossy files are a very big deal to some of us who play their music collections over proper hi fi. I don’t begrudge Apple and others offering a low price tier for poor quality, DRMed music. But Apple had better stop mucking with MY lossless files.

        Finally: who has the time and energy to keep up with the DRM games that media distributors want. I know for a fact that renting a Blu-Ray at Redbox costs less and offers noticeably better quality than iTunes, cable, satellite, or practically any other “HD” streaming service. But now 4K is upon us and the question of home users’ bandwidth is dramatically greater than the people who say lossless audio files are just too big to distribute. YouTube can stream unprotected 4K videos to your home for free, but Apple can’t distribute anything in ultra high definition, audio or video.

        I think this speaks to Apple complacency more than anything else. But look how thin the Apple TV box is, aren’t you impressed?

        1. “Apple’s problem is they want music rental and music collection management in a single app, which has resulted in a clusterfuck”

          I totally disagree. What would be a mess for me is to have one set of music that I need one app for and another set of music that I need another app for with no ability to generate a playlist that combined the two. There’s really no articulated advantage to splitting up the two.

          “iTunes was ruined in large part by the push to emphasize media purchase and now rental. It does neither well.”

          Again I disagree. Prior to the subscription service, there was one tiny tab/button you needed to click on to go to the store, now there’s two tabs for the store/subscription. It’s not that hard to ignore the tiny tabs.

          “Lossy files are a very big deal to some of us who play their music collections over proper hi fi. I don’t begrudge Apple and others offering a low price tier for poor quality, DRMed music. But Apple had better stop mucking with MY lossless files.”

          Apple doesn’t DRM purchased music, and a subscription music service inherently can’t work without DRM. As far as mucking around with YOUR lossless files, again, iTunes doesn’t touch them unless you specifically choose to Match them *and* delete the original lossless ones. If you want to keep lossless simply don’t Match and delete them.

          “Finally: who has the time and energy to keep up with the DRM games that media distributors want. “

          My point was that DavGreg was complaining about the DRM of iTunes music and movies, but the reality is that it’s exactly the same as their disc counterparts. Music purchased from iTunes is DRM free and just as easily transferable or burnable to CD as CDs are. Movies are DRM protected on DVD and Blu-ray and while they can be illegally stripped, the DRM is easier and faster to strip on iTunes movies.

          Sure it would be great if iTunes movies had no DRM, but considering it’s easier to remove it than it is for a DVD or Blu-ray, why is he whining about iTunes movies while praising DVDs and Blu-rays when it comes to DRM?

          “YouTube can stream unprotected 4K videos to your home for free, but Apple can’t distribute anything in ultra high definition, audio or video.”

          YouTube can stream user-generated 4K content for free, not feature films, which is the business that Apple is in. There are a lot of moving parts here when it comes to feature films and delivery that makes sense. Many of the specs were just recently finalized in the past few months and the hardware to support it isn’t fully baked yet.

          That’s not to say 4K or 1080p discs aren’t going to give you a better image or to argue that you shouldn’t be purchasing/renting them, but to point to Apple as being “complacent” here is simply being unaware of everything that’s involved and thinking that what you personally want represents the entire user base that Apple is focused on.

          “But now 4K is upon us and the question of home users’ bandwidth is dramatically greater than the people who say lossless audio files are just too big to distribute.”

          Again great, go with lossless if you believe you can hear a difference. Numerous double-blind ABX surveys show the overwhelming majority can’t determine the difference, let alone appreciate it. Keep in mind that the data rate of lossless (even CD quality) is significantly higher. While this may not be an issue at home, it is an issue for most people wanting to stream or download on their iPhones. It’s an issue for people concerned about the size of their libraries and devices that contain them. It’s not that Apple can’t go with lossless, it’s that the cost/benefit of doing so wouldn’t be worth it for the overwhelming vast majority. Again, it’s not like as if Apple is preventing you from going lossless. By your lossless music elsewhere. It will work with iTunes and Apple’s devices.

          1. I disagree. The one thing that has kept me from going to the paid tier on Spotify is the horrible, clunky, crashy app & UI. Apple’s is way better and the reason I’ve subscribed to Apple Music.

          2. In case you haven’t noticed, Apple keeps pushing huge picture-based interfaces for its stores. Music collectors prefer to have better information displayed for managing playlists, etc. Some of us like to have accurate BPM, notes for dance steps, etc. One program to sell and one to organize is a better solution IMHO. There’s no reason that the two programs can’t work hand in hand seamlessly, the way Mail and Calendar are designed to.

            “it’s not hard to ignore the tiny tabs” sounds like Microsoft interface quality to me. Those are apologist words. Great software allows the user to customize the inferface work for him.

            Apple doesn’t sell high fidelity music. They lost me as a customer long ago. Streaming is almost all DRM, which is also a nonstarter for those of us who play through multiple devices in multiple locations.

            As for movie DRMs, I believe discs now usually allow a digital download option for playing offline on a handheld device. But now Apple wants to push a WiFi everywhere world with no discs and no way to wire anything together easily, so that means by definition you will only have the quality and DRM limitations that streaming stores offer. You yourself say Apple is just like the rest, and that is exactly the problem. Why does Apple charge more for a me-too product that is neither higher quality nor easier to use?

            I don’t care about the overwhelming majority. The overwhelming majority of idiots in the world think MacDonald’s makes the world’s greatest hamburgers. For only a little more moolah, one can enjoy a better product. Question is, when did Apple decide to become the McDonalds of media distribution? My old ears can easily distinguish between the lossy and CD files, just as you can tell the difference between a standard CD and SACD.

            1. “In case you haven’t noticed, Apple keeps pushing huge picture-based interfaces for its stores. Music collectors prefer to have better information displayed for managing playlists, etc.”

              How does one affect the other? Personally, I think Apple got this right. Stores should be more picture based, while our libraries should be more “spreadsheet” based. Others disagree, and want picture based libraries, and Apple offers that as an option. What they don’t offer is a spreadsheet based store, but I don’t see how that would be really useful or desirable.

              “One program to sell and one to organize is a better solution IMHO.”

              Why? You still haven’t articulated a valid reason. You’re complaining about picture-based interfaces for the store, but good ol’ spreadsheet view is still available in iTunes (and yes, I prefer it as well).

              Mail and Calendar are two entirely different apps. With the store and organization, the overlap is very significant, especially if anyone is subscribing. Why should someone switch apps to listen to what they may be buying or trying? What actual benefit is there in separating the two?

              ““it’s not hard to ignore the tiny tabs” sounds like Microsoft interface quality to me. Those are apologist words. Great software allows the user to customize the inferface work for him.”

              I would agree with that except for the fact of what the original complaint was. If you don’t like subscribing or you don’t like purchasing, the fact that those features exist don’t interfere with one’s other use of iTunes. It’s not like as if you have to go through the store to get to your spreadsheet of music. It’s not an apology, it’s questioning why are you complaining about going into an area that you have to intentionally enter?

              “Streaming is almost all DRM, which is also a nonstarter for those of us who play through multiple devices in multiple locations.

              Streaming with iTunes is both DRM and non-DRM. Purchased/personal music is non-DRM. Subscription music in DRM . I think you mean subscription which inherently has to be DRM. Name one service that doesn’t or try to explain how it could work without DRM.

              “As for movie DRMs, I believe discs now usually allow a digital download option for playing offline on a handheld device.”

              Some do, but they’re almost all DRM… often going through services like iTunes by providing a coupon code.

              “Apple doesn’t sell high fidelity music. “
              Did I say otherwise? Again, Apple sells music at 256kbps AAC (without DRM) which is well above the quality level that the overwhelmingly vast majority can discern (let alone appreciate) a difference in numerous ABX surveys. Apple doesn’t limit you to that. Knock yourself out and buy high resolution FLAC files and bring them into iTunes. Apple won’t “muck with your lossless” as you commented.

              “But now Apple wants to push a WiFi everywhere world with no discs and no way to wire anything together easily, so that means by definition you will only have the quality and DRM limitations that streaming stores offer.”

              Huh? Apple a long time ago decided not to get into the media disc market and instead offer digital media via subscriptions and purchases. Subscriptions inherently must be DRM while while purchases have had DRM only as the owners have demanded.

              “You yourself say Apple is just like the rest, and that is exactly the problem. Why does Apple charge more for a me-too product that is neither higher quality nor easier to use?”

              Your comment here is too vague to determine what you’re talking about, but I do see Apple Music (the original topic) as being higher quality in some ways and easier to use than Spotify in some ways. I’d much rather have 256kbps AAC than 320kbps OGG Vorbis, and I’d much rather have a larger library to choose from. That it integrates with my existing iTunes library makes it much easier to use.

              If you’re referring to Music/Movies versus discs, the advantage to going to a digital media format is huge for many of us, making it much easier and acceptable for the quality loss. The original comment was comparing DVD/BR to Apple’s movies which is silly because Apple’s HD movies are far, far, higher quality than DVD, so if he’s finding DVDs to be acceptable quality, why is he bashing the quality of Apple’s HD movies that are significantly higher in quality?

              “I don’t care about the overwhelming majority. The overwhelming majority of idiots in the world think MacDonald’s makes the world’s greatest hamburgers.

              Right, and MacDonald’s sells a lot of hamburgers. They’ve targeted a demographic, one that considers the low-cost aspect of the hamburgers.

              Apple has likewise chosen a demographic. It can’t be all things to all people. It’s a premium brand. The comparison would be more to BMW/Mercedes. You’re asking why Apple can’t sell music files that are lossless is like asking why a BMW/Mercedes sedan can’t compete with super sports car that goes over 200mph, when the overwhelming vast majority of BMW/Mercedes owners couldn’t ever go over 100mph anyway. If you want to go over 200mph, get a super sports car.

              For only a little more moolah, one can enjoy a better product. Question is, when did Apple decide to become the McDonalds of media distribution?”

              There are trade-offs with lossless audio files. If you want to make those trade-offs, go ahead. Apple allows you to do so, but meanwhile, Apple is looking at what the vast overwhelming majority would be better off with, and the fact is, 256kbps AAC is a much better format in that regard.

              “My old ears can easily distinguish between the lossy and CD files, just as you can tell the difference between a standard CD and SACD.”

              That’s not really relevant to anything. The relevance is being able to successfully pass an ABX test. The overwhelming vast majority can’t at 256kbps AAC.

  7. I finally got around to taking the three month trial, and I think I’ll probably end up continuing but only because I have a few hundred pounds of store credit which I got when gift cards were 20% off.

Add Your Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.