Apple has Spotify in its sights as the company to beat in the streaming music industry. Spotify currently has the most subscribers out there (75 million paying subscribers), but Apple is catching up. Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that Apple Music now has 50 million subscribers on the Bloomberg Television program “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations.”
Cook says that the service has over 50 million users between paid members and trial users. That it’s a marked gain in subscribers compared to the 38 million in March and 40 million in April. Apple is gaining about 4 million conversions to paid subscribers per month and that amount has reportedly been consistent since January.
If Apple continues that pace, it will have racked up around 60 million paid subscribers before Christmas of this year. Primary competitor Spotify announced in May that it has 75 million subscribers that pay. If Spotify maintains its current growth rate, it is expected to have about 90 million paying customers by Christmas putting Apple about 30 million users back.
Cook also talked about Apple’s push into content; this is the first time that he has directly talked about that push. “We are very interested in the content business. We will be playing in a way that is consistent with our brand," Cook told Bloomberg. "We're not ready to give any details on it yet. But it's clearly an area of interest.”
In 2017 Apple reportedly had about $1 billion set aside for original video programming. Apple is expected to spend much more than that amount with some reports claiming that Apple has beat Netflix, the streaming leader, in bidding wars for some content. Apple has reportedly made deals to produce 12 projects since October of last year and some of those went straight-to-series without making a pilot.
Apple says it is after quality rather than quantity, something that Netflix original movies and shows sometimes lack. Insiders claim that Apple is targeting sometime between March 2019 and the summer of 2019 to roll out its new video service.