Early Apple Music stats show major opportunities for growth, user retention, conversion from rival services


A new study from research firm MusicWatch shares some insight into Apple Music usage, including the percentages of users the subscription streaming service has been able to attract from Apple’s old iTunes music platform and competing services.

Around 11 percent of iOS users report actually using Apple Music (although 77 percent were aware it had launched), and that number is approximately the same among users purchasing or managing their music through iTunes. Compare those numbers to the approximately 40 percent of iOS users that MusicWatch says buy music in the form of digital downloads through iTunes.

In addition, the report notes that usage among existing iTunes Radio users sits at 18 percent. That would mean Apple Music has only attracted a small portion of iTunes users in general. While the numbers compared to iTunes usage are low, MusicWatch notes that the service has been able to convert around 52% of users that gave the service a try since launch. To me, that’s a good sign that the biggest hurdle is actually getting users to try the service. But how does usage relate to that of competitive services?…

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The study claims that a notable 28 percent of Spotify Premium customers— those that pay a monthly fee for ad-free access to Spotify— are also using Apple Music. Apple hasn’t, however, been as successful at attracting free users from competing services, with 11 percent of free Spotify users and 6 percent of Pandora users also using Apple Music. 

Lastly, the study offers a bit of insight into how users are actually interacting with Apple Music, which also includes not just Apple’s new streaming services but also users’ own libraries bundled into a single app. The study claims that “My Music,” the section of Apple Music where users manage their own libraries and playlists, is the most used feature. Beats 1, in comparison, has attracted around 30 percent of Apple Music users. As for the Connect feature that presents exclusive content uploaded by artists to profile pages, the study shows around 27 percent of users are actually accessing that part of the service for content.

While these numbers give us a peek into initial Apple Music usage among music listeners on iOS, it doesn’t take into account the fact that all Apple Music users are currently on a three-month trial, which will end in early September for those that signed up on day one. How might the data change once users are forced to pay? The study claims that 64 percent of users said they are likely to subscribe after the free trial, but in contrast a similar 61 percent had switched off the automatic renewal process as they test the service and decide whether to subscribe in the future.


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  1. David Nine (@pairof9s) - 7 years ago

    I wish I could say that Apple Music has been an improvement over my previous iTunes Music app/storage solution…I can’t. The debacle of the redesigned iOS app which heavily promotes Apple Music-only features over an all-encompassing music app is really front & center to my frustration. Add to this the shambles of my previously well meticulous music library that the iCloud Music Library created upon using Apple Music, and I see little advantage to using the service. At least with Spotify, I had a separate app to stream (try out) new music and decide if it necessitated a purchase to my personal iTunes music library.

    Needless to say, the automatic renewal button has been deactivated on my account.

    • crichton007 - 7 years ago

      Having tried it the app is an improvement over the previous version (IMHO) when the Apple Music features are turned off. As for myself I like Apple Music and intend to keep with it after my trial expires.

  2. Josh (@533mhz) - 7 years ago

    I’ve been using and enjoying Spotify for some time now. I recently switched to Apple Music, while I do like some aspects of it, there’s a lot I still don’t care for, plus it was very buggy at first. It’s gotten better but it’s still buggy. I’m still not sure I am going to switch from Spotify when my trial ends. I think Apple’s got some work to do if they want to keep me using their music service.


Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & Electrek.co. He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.