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Apple Music reaches 38M subscribers, gained 2M in last month

Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue provided a brief update on the state of Apple Music on Monday, saying the company's streaming music service now boasts some 38 million subscribers.

Cue revealed the fresh Apple Music figures during an onstage interview at the South by Southwest festival, saying the service recently gained two million new subscribers in a little over one month. Further, another 8 million are currently listening to Apple Music on a trial basis.

Adding color to the hard numbers, Cue said the combined subscriber bases of Apple Music and rival Spotify equate to more than 100 million members.

Last month, Spotify announced plans to go public, and in doing so revealed it has 71 million paying users. In 2017, the service recorded 159 million monthly active users who streamed 40.3 billion hours of content, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings show.

While 100 million people is a large group, Cue said there is plenty of room to grow. In his talk, the Apple Music chief estimated there to be about two billion people in the world who could be subscribers of Apple Music, Spotify or some other streaming service. Hammering the point home, Cue added that more than half a billion customers access the App Store every week, all of whom are ripe for subscription.

He went on to downplay the numbers game, saying Apple is more concerned about artist royalties. The amount of money artists make through streaming platforms has long been a hot button topic for the music industry, with megastars like Taylor Swift withholding their respective catalogs from services whose terms were deemed unacceptable.

"The real opportunity for music — and it's not about Spotify or us or the labels, it's about artists — is how do they get their music to everyone around the world and how do they get compensated for that," Cue said. "We both have to grow by significant amounts in order to get to the numbers which it should."

During his talk with CNN technology reporter Dylan Byers, Cue commented on Apple's recently announced acquisition of digital magazine subscription service Texture. He also dismissed rumors that the company was looking to purchase Netflix, instead saying Apple is "all in" on original content created by its in-house entertainment team.