Eddy Cue has revealed that Apple Music has now reached 20 million subscribers, proving they’re still a force to be reckoned with in streaming.
Since launching last June Apple have grown their music streaming service from a newcomer to one of the major players. The service is still showing incredible growth 18 months after launching, having now reached 20 million subscribers after announcing 17 million paid users in September only 3 months ago.
Apple can attribute their success to a number of things but one particularly impactual yet controversial method has been purchasing exclusive releases from artists. Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and products, Eddy Cue told Billboard: “It’s been quite a year. We were thrilled to see that we could take [artists’] passions and drive them all the way to No. 1. Chance the Rapper, who we put on Apple Music exclusively, hit the top 10 on Billboard charts [based on streams alone], and I can’t recall that being done before.”
Despite Apple’s enthusiasm for them streaming exclusives have been criticised by many artists and fans. Universal Music Group’s big boss Lucian Grainge even went so far as to ban streaming exclusives for Universal artists. Despite this Cue is determined to continue with exclusives, saying: “They work really well for everybody concerned — they’re great for the label, they work for the artist and for us. It’s really about launching things, sometimes it makes sense to do that.”
Whilst Apple’s numbers aren’t close to their main rival, Spotify with 40 million paid users and over 100 million overall users, it’s the speed Apple Music is growing that is most impressive. In just 18 months Apple have managed growth that took Spotify 6 years, though they do have Apple’s resources to be fair. On growth Cue said: “Of course we want more and want it to go faster — we’re hungry! We can’t forget that, as an industry, we still have very few music subscribers. There are billions of people listening to music and we haven’t even hit 100 million subscribers. There’s a lot of growth opportunity.”
Head of Apple Music’s lauded Beats 1 online radio station and ex-BBC radio DJ Zane Lowe weighed in on Apple’s position between all the other streaming services new and old, saying: “It’s great for fans. Here are people trying to make music valuable, and that’s part of the conversation. Whether it’s Chance or Car Seat Headrest or Russ, our job [is] to reflect the most exciting music of the day and personally, I want music to take its rightful place as a priority in people’s lives. I want it to be front and center.”