Apple Music has announced a 7 million growth in its total number of paid subscriptions in the first half of 2017. The announcement, made at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) reports growth of almost a third of its total subscribers since December 2016.
Apple’s SVP of software engineering, Craig Federighi, said at the event: “Last fall, we introduced an all new design for Apple Music which brought greater clarity and simplicity to the Apple Music experience. We now have 27 million customers who really enjoy the curation as well as the personalisation of Apple Music.”
The significant growth in subscribers is expected to be as a result of pre-installation on Apple iPhones and a three-month free trial period, compared to just one month with Spotify.
Apple music launched on June 30th, 2015 in 100 countries and offers an additional family plan, which allows users to share a subscription at a lower rate. Apple had originally sought to enter the market at a reduced subscription cost, however this was rejected by the music industry.
In February 2016, Apple Music was available in a total of 113 countries, reaching many areas of the world where competing music streaming services were initially unavailable. Upon its launch, Beats Music subscriptions and playlists were integrated into Apple Music.
Apple Music is focusing on attracting new customers with non-music content services, recently confirming that James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke will air exclusively on the platform on 8th August.
The company will also launch its own voice-controlled HomePod speaker system, to compete with Amazon and Google in the home entertainment market.
In addition, Apple Music also announced at WWDC that it has added the Music Kit API to its service, allowing full songs from the user’s library to be played in full within other apps.
Despite the service reporting a significant growth in user base, Spotify still remains the market leader with 50 million subscribers worldwide. In March this year, the streaming giant announced its user base had grown by 20 million on March 2016.
Spotify currently has more than 100 million monthly active users, of which 50 million are paying subscribers. Since last year, Spotify has made a number of high-profile content and personnel changes, which is likely to have contributed to its significant growth rate.
Key additions to the Spotify UK operations include former BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra chief George Ergatoudis, appointed as head of content programming. With 20 years of experience with the BBC, Ergatoudis has been tasked with making Spotify’s playlist and curation the best in the industry. Since joining the firm, he has appointed a playlist team comprising of Austin Daboh, James Foley, Dexter Batson, Sara Sesardic and Rob Khan.
Last month, Spotify said it had taken a step towards going public, hiring banks to assist in listing the company in New York. The Swedish streaming service, contracted Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co to consult the firm on the process.
Spotify is considering a direct listing rather than a traditional public offering. Under this process, the company would not sell new shares to raise revenue. Instead it will just make existing shares available to trade, which allows current investors to cash out.
In 2016, streaming revenue increased by 60%, while the overall global music industry grew 5.9%, which is the fastest rate of growth since 1997. In a recent Goldman Sachs research report, Music in the Air, predicted that streaming revenues will double to $104bn by 2030.
According to industry group IFPI, music revenues hit $15.7bn in 2016, up from $14.8bn in 2015 of which half came from digital sales.