clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Apple Music Has 6.5 Million Paying Subscribers

Spotify has 20 million.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Apple’s music subscription service has plenty of critics, but it also has 6.5 million subscribers paying at least $10 a month.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the service’s subscription totals tonight at the WSJD conference. It’s the first time Apple has disclosed Apple Music’s performance, following months of negative feedback from critics and users.

Spotify, the leader in the digital music subscription business, said back in June that it had 20 million paid subs.

Apple Music launched at the end of June, and offered users three months of free music before requiring them to subscribe. Its first users were asked to start paying at the beginning of October. Spotify offers a free tier that never expires, a point of contention with some people in the music industry.

Apple has positioned itself to the music business as an alternative to the free music available at Spotify and YouTube.

“It’s going really well,” Cook said. “We are now over 6.5 million paid users and 8.3 million people in the trial. Over 15 million people are using Apple Music.”

Prior to launch, Apple execs floated the notion that Apple Music could quickly eclipse Spotify and reach 100 million users. Since the service debuted, it has been criticized for both design and technical issues. In recent weeks, Apple execs have issued vague pronouncements about the merits of patience.

“Everybody gets fixated on the short term, but we’re in this for the long haul,” Apple media boss Eddy Cue told London’s Evening Standard.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.