Apple Music Hits 10M Subscribers, on Track to Catch Spotify this Year

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Apple Music already has 10 million paying subscribers, only six months after launching. The iPhone and iPad maker's streaming music service could top Spotify's 20 million subscribers by the end of 2016, according to projections, potentially making the largest player in the market.

Apple Music hits 10 million paid subscribersApple Music hits 10 million paid subscribers

Streaming music market leader Spotify took six years to hit the 10 million subscriber point, and another year to surge up to 20 million. Apple was able to bring in 11 million subscribers during its first month of availability, although all of those were participating in the first wave of three-month free trials. The company did, however, reach 6.5 million paid subscribers in about three months.

Apple's jump from 6.5 million paid subscribers in October to 10 million in December was bigger than expected. Projections had targeted 8 million, which means the holiday season turned out to be a nice boost for Apple.

Spotify currently has at least 20 million subscribers, making it the streaming music leader. The company last reported its subscriber numbers in June 2015, and it has most likely increased since then. That said, Apple is gaining subscribers much more quickly than Spotify, so it could catch up by the end of the year.

Assuming Apple does surpass Spotify, it'll be the largest player in the market. It already looks to be the fastest growing streaming music service, too.

Apple may be planning on expanding its streaming music offerings this year, as well. The company has filed for trademarks on additional Beats Internet radion stations to accompany Beats 1.

There isn't any word yet on how Beats 2 through 5 will be used. It's possible Apple could be planning on different style-specific stations, or stations that focus on specific music genres.

Adding more Beats radio stations to Apple Music could be enticing for potential subscribers—all of whom will add up as Apple pushes to surpass Spotify's subscriber numbers.

[Thanks to the Financial Times for the heads up]

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Apple's ultimate goal is to have 100 million subscribers. Blowing past Spotify's 20 million subscribers in a little over a year would be a great start, and it looks like Apple really could surpass its competitors to be the largest paid streaming music service before 2017.

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Mark Iskowitz

Jeff, while it’s encouraging that Apple Music has 10 million paying subscribers and is doing an admirable job streaming songs, the service fails in a big way regarding subscribers’ cloud music libraries.  One of the services you’re supposed to receive for the monthly subscription fee is having as many as 100,000 of your home PC songs available to stream on any Apple device via your personalized Cloud Music Library.  Amazon Music has been doing this for a few years now and uses a current method of matching user audio with songs in its collection.  Did you know that Apple Music employs an outdated algorithm to match recordings in one’s local library (my PC) with those in its Apple Music collection?  Consequently, Apple mismatches constantly, so instead of recognizing and matching a live or alternate version of a Bennett or Bowie song on my PC with the exact song in Apple’s collection and placing that song in my cloud music library, it identifies it incorrectly and places the most common studio version in my cloud library.  I’ve complained to Apple several times, and their responses range from potential fixes that won’t work to senior phone reps who claim to be unaware of the problem.  If Apple doesn’t have my particular song in its collection, it’s supposed to upload my song into my cloud library.  However, it only does this for some songs, while mismatching others.  What results is a crazily inaccurate mess of a cloud library for the user.  Consequently, I no longer rely on it and simply stream my personal music library from Amazon as I did before Apple Music started.

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