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Apple refutes Apple Music survey, says 79% of trial customers still using service

Commenting on a recent survey conducted by research firm MusicWatch, which claimed only 52 percent of Apple Music trial customers still use the service, Apple said the actual attrition rate is closer to 21 percent.

Apple provided the correct Apple Music numbers to The Verge shortly after the MusicWatch survey was released on Tuesday. Specifically, Apple said 79 percent of people who signed up for a three-month free trial are still active users.

The admonition brings into question other data from today's report. According to survey respondents, 64 percent said they were extremely or very likely to continue paying for Apple Music once the trial period ends, though 61 percent already turned off auto-renewal features in iTunes. Perhaps most damning was a statistic claiming 48 percent of users who tried Apple Music since its debut in June had stopped using the service.

Apple stopped short of offering in-depth statistics or analysis and it is unclear how the company defines active users. The 79 percent number also sheds no light on potential conversion rates, or those who intend to pay for Apple Music services after their trial period expires. At the same time, MusicWatch's survey results regarding the percentage of customers who turned off auto-renewal is slightly misleading. That a customer opts out of automated renewal service does not necessarily serve as an indication of that person's intent to subscribe, they might simply be averse to such billing systems.

What Apple's statement makes clear, however, is that research reports drawing from customer surveys can at times be completely off target. Or at least inconsistent in interpreting gathered data. Only Apple knows how well Apple Music is fairing in a field full of strong competitors, though even it can't predict what subscription numbers will be like in September with any certainty.

So far, Apple is playing its music streaming cards close to the vest, only revealing earlier this month that 11 million users had signed up for trial accounts five weeks in.