Paid subscribers to the streaming music service soared to the 20 million mark recently, up from 17 million the company reported back in September. That’s a nearly 18% gain in only three months.
Apple Music is currently the second largest subscription music service behind Spotify, which counts 40 million paid subscribers, and an additional 60 million free tier users. Apple Music does not offer a free version of its service.
Despite its growing market share in the streaming music space, Apple isn’t content with where things stand. “We can’t forget that, as an industry, we still have very few music subscribers. There are billions of people listening to music and we haven’t even hit 100 million subscribers. There’s a lot of growth opportunity,” said Apple Music head Eddie Cue in an interview with venerable music publication Billboard.
Despite some media and consumer backlash, Apple said it plans to continue its practice of paying for exclusive album releases. It acquired 70 of those over the past year, where it was the exclusive streaming provider of the albums for a period of time. “They work really well for everybody concerned – they’re great for the label, they work for the artist and for us,” said Cue in the Billboard interview.
Apple shares posted slight gains in premarket trading Wednesday. Year-to-date, AAPL has gained 4.46%, versus an 8.75% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 during the same period.