Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Apple Music Hooks 6.5 Million Subscribers: Should Spotify Worry?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Apple Music Hooks 6.5 Million Subscribers: Should Spotify Worry?

Article excerpt

After Apple Music launched on June 30, the service's 15 million users had three months to give it a go. Could Apple's famously loyal customers be wooed from its music-streaming competitors, especially Spotify?

The start of October marked decision day for Apple Music's first testers, who had to commit to $9.99 per month (or $14.99 for families) to continue streaming its 30 million songs whenever, wherever. (Including Taylor Swift, a major win: the songstress made headlines with a 2014 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal which declared "the future of music is a love story," and love doesn't come cheap; she was withdrawing her albums from Spotify's free service.)

Apple's chief executive officer Tim Cook indicated that the company's big gamble is poised to pay off: speaking at WSJDLive yesterday, the Wall Street Journal's global technology conference, he said that some 60 percent of trial users proved willing to pay. Apple Music now boasts 15 million users in total, 6.5 paying subscribers and another 8.5 who are still enjoying the free trial.

So should Spotify worry?

At first glance, the Swedish musical gurus look safe. Only seven years old, it's already earned 75 million users, of whom 20 million are paying subscribers. Although they've lost Miss Swift to Apple, the rest of the library is virtually the same, as is the price.

And early reviews may have let Spotify breathe a tad easier.

"While Apple Music may be taking the secret of on-demand streaming to the masses, the app itself isn't ready for them," the Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern concluded.

Bloomberg Business' headline was even less forgiving: "Apple Music Is a Hot Mess With a Few Bright Spots."

Several reviewers complained about the service's "Russian nesting doll"-like menus, as Ms. Stern called them, finding it ironic that a company who revolutionized hand-held design was having trouble at this stage of the game. …

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