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How Apple Music can turn users into subscribers

Dan Moren | Aug. 3, 2015
According to industry sources, Apple Music has racked up 10 million users in its first month. That's a pretty good number, as the far more established Spotify boasts somewhere in the realm of 20 million paid subscribers.

Trial by fire

The three-month trial period has been a clever move on Apple's part. A month isn't really sufficient to ingrain a service like this into your life, but three months might be long enough to get people to start treating Apple Music as more than something they're just checking out.

Retaining users is always a challenge for a subscription service. In the case of Apple Music, the cost analysis seems straightforward: If you're buying eight or nine songs, or an album or more, every month, Apple Music seems like a solid deal. But it doesn't take into account how much Apple customers have been inculcated with the idea that one should own their music, not simply rent it. Not everybody makes their subscription decisions based on rational cost analyses, either.

But if Apple has indeed acquired 10 million subscribers, and manages to hold on to even half of those, that will be a pretty solid start for the service--especially if it can add some Android users into the mix later this fall. But it'll still have a ways to go before it can catch up to competitors like Spotify.

In the end, though, it may not be a big deal, because unlike Spotify, for whom streaming is bread and butter, Apple's got its irons in plenty of fires. While the success of Apple Music might add another profitable revenue stream (pardon the expression), its underperformance hardly stands to capsize the company.


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