Millions sour on Apple Music

11 million tried service, only 6.5 million kept it.

- Jefferson Graham Follow USA TODAY tech columnist and #TalkingTec­h host on Twitter, where he’s @jeffersong­raham, and follow his daily audio and tech reports here and on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn and SoundCloud.

Apple Music has persuaded 6.5 million users to pay for the service, Apple CEO Tim Cook said late Monday.

Those paying subscriber­s are just a slice of the users who agreed to try out the service on a trial basis starting June 30, suggesting millions weren’t sold on the service by the time the first threemonth trial ended in late September.

But Apple has continued to get more of the curious to test the service. It now has 15 million total users, Cook saud at The Wall Street

Journal’s WSJ.D Live. Besides paying listeners, the rest of that total are those using the free trial. Rival Spotify, in business since 2008, has 20 million paying subscriber­s.

Cook said he’s happy with the results: “It’s going well.”

Apple Music launched in June as a $9.99 monthly service offering unlimited access to the world’s music, competing with the likes of Spotify and Rdio. A month after launch, in early August, Apple said it had locked in 11 million trial members.

Daniel Ives, an analyst with FBR & Co., said 6.5 million paid subscriber­s is a better number than he had expected and shows that Apple Music is “off to a solid start. Now the goal is for Apple to further spread the gospel to convert more trial customers over the next three to six months while adding unique content and services.”

Richard Windsor, an analyst at Edison Investment Research, said 6.5 million paying subscriber­s is worth annual revenues of $780 million for Apple.

“However, how many users have forgotten to cancel the service and will do so after the first month when they receive the bill is unclear. Either way, this is pretty good performanc­e and implies that around 60% of users who trial the service go on to pay for it.”

Turning to current products, Cook announced that pre-sales for the revamped Apple TV begin Monday and that the $149 product will be available the following week. The set-top box will bring apps to TV viewing and will offer voice control search via Apple’s Siri personal digital assistant. The current Apple TV sells for $69.

Cook said the new Apple TV is a platform that could change the way people find the shows they want to watch. “Linear TV is going,” he said. “The channel-watching experience is going away.”


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