Apple’s Music streaming service has reached 20 million paid subscribers, half as many users as its main rival, Spotify. Much of that growth has relied on exclusive content deals.
Early this year, Apple announced that its paid music service, which was launched back in 2015, had reached 13 million users. Then, a few months later at the latest iPhone unveiling event, Apple said that number had grown to 17 million. Fast forward to today, and Apple Music boss Eddy Cue is celebrating the 20 million paid subscribers mark.
A large part of that growth in Apple Music’s user base can be attributed to exclusive content deals that the company has signed with artists. However, these have been criticized by some artists and users alike. Cue, however, downplayed those criticisms in an interview with the BBC where he said:
I don't think exclusives or promotions are anything new. They were done in the record business, they were done on iTunes, now they're being done on streaming. The exclusives are relatively short term - it's not something that stays on any one platform. But being able to do unique things with artists is a good thing and I think that'll continue.
Apple’s music streaming service grew at a rate of one million new subscribers per month since the launch of the iPhone 7, an impressive feat for sure. But that still leaves Apple with less than half of the number of paid subscribers that Spotify has, more than a year after Apple Music launched. For a company that was expected to quickly leverage its iTunes strengths, some industry watchers seem disappointed at the service’s rate of growth.
Still, this is an important milestone for the company, and Cue said that exclusive content and promotions will continue in an effort to drive even more engagement and growth.