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article image6.5 million people are now paying for Apple Music

By James Walker     Oct 20, 2015 in Technology
Apple CEO Tim Cook has ended the speculation surrounding how many users Apple Music has managed to retain by saying the service now has over 6.5 million paying subscribers. The number still falls significantly short of industry leader Spotify.
Reuters reports that Cook revealed the figure at WSJD Live, a technology conference organised by the Wall Street Journal and held in Laguna yesterday. Apple Music launched in June but offers all its users a three-month free trial after they first sign up. Its July 30 launch date means nobody will have had to pay anything until October 1.
Apple announced there is currently a total of over 15 million people using Apple Music. Of them, 6.5 million are paying for a subscription and have been successfully retained by the service after the free trial period, equating to around 60 percent of the 11 million people said to have signed up for the trial. Cook said: "I'm really happy about it, and I think the runway here is really good."
Apple Music is priced at $9.99 a month after its free trial. A $14.99 family subscription is available as a more affordable option for an entire home to use, an offer that is expected to become more popular over time.
Industry analysts have speculated that Apple will eventually be able to attract a large following to its service because of the vast pool of iPhone users who will now find the app preinstalled by default. Most think it unlikely that the company will be able to surpass the established streaming apps like Spotify though.
So far, this seems to have played out. Spotify has over four times as many total users as Apple Music at 75 million, but a majority of these only use its free, ad-supported tier. Apple Music has just over 25 percent of Spotify's 20 million paying subscribers, although it's worth remembering that users have only had the option of paying for the former since last month.
This issue means it is likely to be a while before side-by-side comparisons really start to mean anything. Apple Music is likely to attract more users over time as new people buy iPhones or existing owners reach the end of subscriptions to rival services like Spotify and then make the switch over. Additionally, it should be noted that Apple gained 25 percent of what Spotify achieved in seven years in just under four months, indicating there is definitely a potential for the platform to come to dominate over others.
Despite this, Apple Music has received mixed reviews since its launch with several users complaining about design flaws in its app and missing features that are key to the success of its rivals. There is currently no version available for Android or Windows devices which could be preventing would-be users in their millions from accessing the service.
During the conference, Cook also spoke about some other Apple products, including the much-anticipated new Apple TV announced last month. He said the device will be put on sale from next week, boosting the company's living room presence by introducing an all-new smart TV box powered by a new operating system capable of running its own apps.
Cook wants TV to be on-demand and based around user choice, representing a radical move away from the linear channel-based viewing of today. He said the failure of the industry to embrace his app-centric concept will not last forever and that Apple has "developed an infrastructure to fix a terrible broken thing that none of us like."
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