Apple Music heading for #1 with 10 million paying subscribers in six months

by: Robert TriggsJanuary 11, 2016

Apple Music Android Shutterstock

Music streaming is big business these days and a range of competing services having sprung up in the past few years to meet growing consumer demand. Apple was a little late to the party, its streaming service launched at the end of June 2015, but is well on the way to becoming one of, if not the biggest service providers in the future.

According a report from the Financial Times, Apple Music has already surpassed 10 million subscribers within its first six months. It took industry leader Spotify six years to hit the same figure. Spotify is still the leading music streaming platform with around 20 million paying customers and 75 million monthly listeners. However, Apple Music has leapt into second place ahead of Dezer, which has around 6.3 million subscribers, and Tidal, which last reported only 1 million users. Based on the current rate of growth, the report predicts that Apple Music could become the leading music steaming service sometime in 2017.

This early surge isn’t really surprising, as the service immediately launched in 100 territories and Apple is already well established in the music download business through iTunes. The company has also been pushing its service in front of hundreds of millions of its hardware customers, although only around 1 percent have actually signed up for the service. Apple has also been temping consumers with three month free trials, but only time will tell how many of these translate into long term customers.

apple-musicSee also: Apple Music now available on Android41

Regardless of how well Apple’s platform performs over the next couple of years, music streaming is expected to become the dominant method of consuming music. Album downloads fell 9 percent in 2014 and individual track sales were down by 12 percent, according to Nielsen Music data. By comparison, streaming demand has increased by 50 percent to 164 billion songs streamed a year.

Which music streaming service are you using, or are you still downloading tracks or even purchasing physical CDs?

  • spann37

    I’m using Google Play Music. For a while there I gave Tidal a shot, but a lot of songs were unavailable and I was paying more than double for it than I do for GPM. Now if they could just get their asses in gear and launch the podcast service already…

  • Frode Bergeton Nilsen

    You sort of lost out on the biggest streaming service: YouTube. The Android platform is many times as big as IOS, and has the same owner as YouTube, which by far is the biggest music video streaming service. “Sorry” is played 556.176.252 times on YouTube, and only 337.088.185 times on Spotify. Pretty much the same story for any piece of music.

    The times they are a changing. Is a pure music streaming service really the future? I mean, if all pure music streaming services combined is still smaller than YouTube?

    • aaloo

      youtube is great, but its free. how many people are actually using the youtube’s subscription service. content creators aren’t making any money apart from ads.

      • Frode Bergeton Nilsen

        Not much different from Spotify in the end then.

    • I’m afraid I can’t listen to music on the go and then save it for offline usage comfortably while using YouTube.

      • Frode Bergeton Nilsen

        Certainly. But with numbers like these, Google got some platform to spin a music streamer out of. If they wanted. Much like the rather late spinning of the Android.

  • Ray

    Using Google play music here.

    • Frode Bergeton Nilsen

      The user interface is certainly different. There is no menu button to name one, no sound quality setting, nor any way to sort a play list. The list of similar artists is also rather limited, so browsing for music seems limited.

      Since you use this, what is the main advantage or strength, and the lack of like a menu button for quick nav, is that really an issue?

      • Ast_To_The_Regional_Mgr

        I’m not sure what you mean by it doesn’t have a menu button… Like all Google services, you just hit the three bars to go through all your options. I have never looked for a sound quality option on either service, so I can’t speak to that. But sorting playlists on Google Music is very simple – you just drag. Do you mean sort by artist, alphabetical, etc? Finally, I have found one band on Spotify that I could not find on Google Music, and although I can’t remember who the artist was, I know it was surprising to me that they were on either service.

        I switched from Spotify to Google Music because I liked the UI more, and at the time, I was unable to browse through my library on Spotify by Album, Artist, etc, – it only sorted in the order I had added songs to my library – but I’m sure that’s changed by now. Other than that, I like that Google Music is linked to all my other Google stuff.

  • Celso Rodrigues

    Just for comparison’s sake, does anyone know how many paying subscribers Google Play Music has?

    I’ve tried searching online, but found nothing conclusive.

  • William

    I am using Spotify Premium and Google Play Music. And from time to time I even buy an album ;)

  • fredphoesh

    Google Play and Spotify

  • aaloo

    but but but… no way… how could it be true… but i thought everyone said apple music sucked. i don’t believe.

  • Moose05

    Why? The service sucks.

  • Jeansen

    how many subscribers does google music have now actually?^^

  • rob

    Not surprised. If it wasn’t for iTunes I would be tempted to give it a go. I’m still waiting on Play music to release the family plan in my region Apple has had it available since they started the music streaming service.

  • bt

    I’d rather own my music rather than rent it. I only use streaming software to find new songs.

  • monkey god

    As a streaming service, i like Spotify over Google Music. However, Google Music also lets you buy music and upload your own music. Spotify needs to implement a way for you to do that. That way, I can upload T. Swift or Prince and actually play it on Spotify.

    • Frode Bergeton Nilsen

      Spotify allows you to upload music.

      You just use your PC. The PC app, allows you to play music found in your Windows player library, my music folder, or the download folder by default. Just add the music to a play list. Then make the play list available offline on your mobile phone, while on the same local network as your mobile phone. The phone will then download the local files on your pc, to your mobile.

      I have done that since 2013. Worked great on the subway, without any Internet connection since 2013.

      Once uploaded to your phone, it can be used like any other tune, on that phone. You might want to watch the mp3 file attributes, if using bootleg files. Attributes for album, artist, and song title might be a tiny bit off. (just a slight understatement).

      • monkey god

        No, Spotify allows playing local music which is not the same thing. Google allows you to upload to the cloud where you can access it on any device, locally on a network or through the internet with no need to transfer music back and forth between devices.

        • Frode Bergeton Nilsen

          Oh. I thought that was a thing of the past. Some services ran like that pre-Spotify. Thanks for the reply. Tidal has no such feature by the way.

          • monkey god

            There are some older/lesser known services that did nothing but serve the music you already own such as Subsonic. However, its limited by songs you already have and requires your computer/server to be left on to store the library and stream it to you. However, I haven’t seen this type of feature on any streaming subscription based services. Google Music is the closest thing but it requires that you upload your music on their cloud service.

  • JJameson

    I can’t see why anyone uses anything other than Spotify or Google Play Music w/ Youtube Red, and to a lesser extent Tidal. It’s nonsensical to use anything other than those services. Spotify is the cheapest, if you get the .edu discount rate of $5 , and currently provides the largest official catalog. Google Play Music w. Youtube Red is by far the most comprehensive and fully featured service with useful features that extend beyond just music streaming. The official catalog has almost caught up to Spotify too. At $10, or $8 for those who have had it since the initial release, it’s definitely the best overall value as well. Tidal has its place in the market as the only higher end streaming service which, while not a particularly good value, provides the best quality playback for the music in its official catalog. Apple music only makes sense for the staunchly Apple user who only buys Apple products. Otherwise, there is no reason to use their service as it is wholly outclassed by the other options.

    • Scr-U-gle


  • monkey god

    I’m waiting for Spotify to have a competitive family plan. 15 bucks for 2 users is laughable when you can get 5-6 users for the same price on Apple Music or Google Music.