During a recent earnings call, Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook said “millions and millions” of people had signed up for a free trial of Apple Music, the device maker’s much-discussed streaming music service. Today, an anonymous report in an industry trade suggests the major labels know exactly how many millions Cook was talking about.
According to a story in Hits Daily Double, more than 10 million people have signed up for Apple Music’s three-month free trial, which gives users unlimited access to a large catalog of music, curated playlists, artist- and genre-specific radio stations, a kind of social media space called Apple Music Connect, and a live radio station called Beats One.
Getting 10 million people to try anything is no easy trick, but it’s a number that’s difficult to put into context. It’s a modest step toward the 100 million subscribers Apple’s reportedly looking to gather; it’s far behind the 75 million people that use some form of Spotify every month, but not too distant from the 20 million people paying to use Spotify every month.
On the one hand, it’s an impressive start for a product that’s barely been marketed. Set aside the avalanche of press intrigue and attention it got at this summer’s WWDC, Apple’s only shelled out for a few dozen airings of two ads to promote it in the U.S., though that’s sure to change; the same sources told HITS that Apple is gearing up for a massive promotional push around the MTV Video Music Awards.
On the other, there is no guarantee that those ten million people are going to continue using the new service once they have to pay for it, even if Apple tricks them out of one month's worth of money by auto-billing them.
The only thing that's sure is that the number reported today is going to change over time, and as it does, it will make a huge impact on the music industry. Whether it’s as positive or as negative as outsiders predict remains to be seen.