Earning a third as many paid users as Spotify in under 4 months, Apple Music already a hit, FBR says

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Less than four months after it launched, Apple Music already has 6.5 million paid subscribers, or nearly a third of the 20 million who pay for Spotify, a service that has been around since 2008, investment firm FBR & Co. said on Tuesday.

Analyst Daniel Ives issued a note to investors, a copy of which was provided to AppleInsider, in which he declared Apple Music off to a "solid start." The 6.5 million subscribers already roped in by Apple exceeded his own expectations — Ives had forecast for Apple to have 5 million paid customers by the end of October.

"We would characterize this initial stage of the launch as a 'triple' in the streaming ballgame," the analyst wrote.

FBR analyst Daniel Ives believes Apple Music will help lay the groundwork for an Apple streaming television service in 2016.

In an interview on Monday, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook revealed that Apple Music has 15 million total users, with the remaining 8.5 million customers still in a three-month free trial period. The CEO characterized the service as "going pretty well" since its June 30 debut.

In comparison, after 7 years on the market, leading streaming subscription service Spotify has earned a total of 75 million customers — 55 million free and 20 million paid. One key difference: The Apple Music free service is a limited three-month window, while Spotify is available ad-supported indefinitely.

To Ives, Apple Music is just the first step before the Cupertino, Calif., company jumps into the streaming television business in 2016. He believes that in the interim, Apple will "spread the gospel" and add unique content and services to its streaming portfolio.

Like Spotify, Apple Music is priced at $9.99 per month for a single user's subscription, or $14.99 a month for a Family Membership shared by up to six people. Rather than paying for individual songs for albums, users can stream or download any track from Apple's massive library of digital music, as long as they remain a paid subscriber.

One key differentiator for Apple is human curation and expert music recommendations that are exclusive to Apple Music. The service is also tightly integrated into the company's ecosystem, though it will also become available on Android devices this fall.


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