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By Thomas Baekdal - October 2015

Apple Music, Let's Wait and See

Apple has revealed the first official numbers for Apple Music: 15 Million free trials and 6.5 million of them converting to paid-subscribers (

First of all, that's pretty amazing. That's a 43% conversion rate, which most brands would die for. And, it's pretty close to Spotify's 20 million subscribers.

There are, however, a few things I wonder about this.

First of all, Apple Music is linked to the rest of Apple, which means Apple has an almost frictionless payment process since they already have people's credit cards. This, of course, is not a bad thing (for Apple), but it skews the comparison.

Secondly, Apple is a press magnet. The amount of exposure they are getting is off the scale causing them to get an abnormally high level of initial reach that other brands would have to build up more slowly. Again, this is not a bad thing (for Apple), but it skews the comparison.

Thirdly, the value of a music subscription has already been proven by Spotify and others, so Apple never had to prove or even demonstrate why people needed it. It shows the value of not being first combined with the power of a popular brand. Again, this is not a bad thing (for Apple), but it skews the comparison.

Fourthly, When we all wanted to see what Apple Music was about, three months ago, we all linked our payment details, and many people had completely forgotten about that when they were suddenly charged for the first time in October. Three months is a very long time for people to remember that their credit card is about to be charged.

Meaning that the 6.5 million paid subscribers Apple claim they have isn't actually the true number, because people haven't made that choice yet. The right number is how many will they end up having by the end of November.

I have no idea what this number will be. I'm still in the 'let's wait for the data' mode. I really hope journalists will stay on top of this and ask Apple about the numbers again by the end of next month. If Apple is reluctant to answer, then we know that the 6.5 million they are reporting now isn't really the right number. But if they say they now have even more, well... then we have a real winner.

So, let's wait and see.


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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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