Half of Apple Music subscribers stopped listening, claims survey; Apple disputes

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Tired of Apple Music's playlists? Try something even more indie.
Apple Music needs to demonstrate that it's best in show.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

According to a survey published today, 48 percent of Apple Music listeners polled say they have given up listening to the streaming music — and the free trial isn’t even over yet.

Meanwhile, 61 percent claim they have disabled the auto-renewal option on their accounts so as not to be charged when the trial period ends in September.

The survey was carried out by MusicWatch, which interviewed 5,000 U.S. customers aged 13 and older. That’s a tiny fraction of the 11 million users who have signed up for Apple Music, but if the survey results are indicative of a larger trend, it’s less than good news for Apple.

Apple disputes the numbers, telling The Verge that “79 percent of users who have signed up for Apple Music are still using the service.”

MusicWatch managing partner Russ Crupnick puts the lack of adoption down to “the disadvantage of not being the first mover in a market where very good service currently exist” — referring to Apple Music rivals like Spotify.

Interestingly, only 30 percent of Apple Music users listen to Beats 1, while 27 percent use Connect.

Since these are both areas where Spotify can’t compete with Apple Music, it seems that Apple could do better to highlight these services. Fortunately, that’s exactly what seems to be happening. Apple’s latest Apple Music ads and the company’s statements concerning the Apple Music Festival both focus heavily on Apple Music’s Connect feature.

The MusicWatch survey also suggests Apple Music has attracted 28 percent of Spotify’s paying customers, showing the new service is certainly appealing to people who are already used to paying for streaming music.

What’s most important now is advertising Apple Music and what it does better than anyone else. Fortunately for Apple, that’s one place where the company excels.

Source: New York Post

This story has been updated to add Apple’s response to the survey results.

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  • flbronc

    As a matter of practice, I normally immediately disable the auto-renew on any free trial I take part in. This is a precaution in case I totally forget about the service all together and thus will avoid being charged for something I’m not using. I’m technically part of the 61% who have “cancelled”, but will likely end up subscribing because I like the service.

  • James Alexander

    I still love it and will be using it for a long time.

  • John Parkinson

    Another way of reading this is that they have an approximate 40% conversion rate from free trial to paying subscriber. How does that compare to other streaming services?

  • Kr00

    5000 out of 11,000,000 is hardly a core sample. How is this news??? More garbage thrown up as statistics. There must be a hole in the bottom of that barrel you keep scraping at.

    • ape85

      Please define “core sample.”

      • Kr00

        A lot more than 0.00045% of a total user group, thats for sure.

      • ape85

        “More garbage thrown up as statistics.”

      • Kr00

        Do the math moron. Silly me, morons can’t count.

      • ape85

        The number you’re looking for is 0.045%.

      • Kr00

        Ahh, so you can do math now, glad you were paying attention. Good for you. So now you’ll agree that percentage is NOT a core sample. So in your tiny mind, what is a core sample?

      • ape85

        I’m not sure that “core sample” has a statistical meaning, but if you have a definition handy, please share it.

        A sample can be considered representative, even if it’s a very small percentage of the population, as long as the sample is taken randomly and it’s large enough (in this case, n=5000) to represent the same general distribution as the overall population. The small percentage is where the uncertainty comes from, but the uncertainty is a lot smaller than you’d think.

        This is why, for example, the news can report election polling data +/- a few percentage points, even when the sample taken was only a few thousand people out of 200 million voters.

      • Kr00

        This Mickey Mouse survey boldly stated that half of Apple Music subscribers have cancelled, based off 5000 people out of a total of 11,000,000. That does not cut it in the credibility stakes. Apple subsequently came out and refuted that by stating 79% of subscribers are still using the service. Thats real figure for you. Want to argue over those? The point of this is anybody can make any claim they like just to make clickbait headlines, and as a reader I’m fucking over it. How about some real figures based off something substantial, or maybe they should’ve just called Apple in the first place. Idiots like you who waste peoples time arguing about crap like this prove that clickbait draws a crowd, and a very unintelligent one at that.

      • ape85

        How do you think Apple defines “using the service”? How do you think MusicWatch defines it? Understanding and reporting on how each company defines an active user would probably explain the discrepancy. So I do agree that the article could have been more informative.

        But quibbling over the sample size perpetuates a common misunderstanding of statistics, and is just as uninformative as any clickbait headline.

  • FriarNurgle

    I’m still using it everyday. Not sure if I’ll continue after the free trial as there are plenty of other content available for free.

  • UZ

    To me, this was the biggest disappointment ever after Apple Maps and Siri (I now use Maps, but never Siri). See, I stay in South Africa, and unlike Google, Apple is TERRIBLE at localising. Apple Maps STILL doens’t hae my home address on their maps (it shows a restaurant rhere, even though I reported it in the week Apple Maps came out), Siri STILL doesn’t get my South African English accent (considered by many to be the purest Enflish accent of them all), and now Apple Music has only a handful of genres and artists available in South Africa. No folk music whatsoever, even though that makes up 2/3 of mu music. So I cancelled auto-renew and started listening my own music again.

    • Winter Charm

      I agree. If they fixed the UI and several of the bugs, I’d consider continuing my subscription. As it stands right now, it’s annoying and frustrating to use.

    • Brian Meola

      “pure accent” is an oxymoron.

    • bob ama

      Google has more developers working on maps than apple has actual developers, there are something like one million updates made per day to google maps. Basically google owns mappy things so just stick with that. Most stock apps in ios are poor, but that’s ok coz apple rip the innovators off and get there eventually, however this is unlikely to ever happen with maps because that is more about the data itself than actual mapping applications

  • londoner

    Reason for this expected low uptake could be the really ugly interface everywhere, features you don’t want but can’t turn off (radio, connect etc) and the poor (non-existent actually) integration of the streaming service into {the} iTunes {Store}.

  • h4rr33

    Wahaha, well half assed plagiarized service is half assed.

    If you want to copy Spotify, copy them verbatim, they had years to perfect things. Apple, can’t you use that copying energy to make something that’s actually creative and your own. Phone, tablet, tv, watch, car, any of your services are products of you skulking around eating the garbage and crumbs of your competitors ideas.

    After all that talk about people copying you and suing them, everything about your products and services tantamounts to miss matching your competitors popular features, with none of the polish but with a lot of blinding fanfare.

    • Brian Meola

      Couldn’t all that trolling on an apple news site energy be used to… I don’t know… Jerk off or something?? At least everyone else wouldn’t have to be a part of you chasing your jollies.

  • kquist

    this shit still doesn’t work properly on my phone, wiped out my playlists.. all for what? Worst Apple rollout ever.

  • Mark Snider

    I listen to Beats 1 but as an Android convert I still use Google All Access because my large personal library is already in the cloud and integrated with my subscription additions. Switching to apple music would be too much of a hassle to move between basically identical services

    • Michael Smith

      That is really the big difference in services. I have a ton of music from local bands that are not part of any streaming catalog that I was able to upload to Google and can listen to them side by side with my subscription, that is the killer feature these other services don’t offer.

      • Brian Meola

        iTunes Match does the exact same thing.

      • Michael Smith

        You are right, iTunes Match does that as well.

      • But it does. You can upload all your mucus to Apple and combine with apples music just fine.

  • Nathan

    I disabled the auto-renewal the day I activated the service, knowing I’d forget at the later date. I’ve listened to it once, maybe twice, since it was released but I’m not generally a fan of streaming music. It usually doesn’t cross my mind of something I should turn on.

  • ScotNot

    Not using, but subscribed. Will keep subscription in anticipation of it getting better than initial deployment. The other outfits GREW into their niche, whereas Apple jumped into the middle of it with a load of baggage of their own making. It’s pretty cool, considering the magnitude of it all, and i anticipate it to get much, much better as 2015 progresses.

  • Aannddyy

    I like it much.

  • Mark Langston

    It’s interesting this report would come out a few days after news about Dr. Dre’s new album “Compton” being streamed over 25 million times on Apple Music. If Apple Music wasn’t doing well they wouldn’t be posting streaming numbers like that.

    I can recall when Daft Punk’s last album debuted it posted about 10 million streams. Obviously Compton pummels those numbers, which speaks to Apple Music’s popularity and usage despite this report.

    As the end of the article states, Apple’s gigantic advantage over Spotify and similar services is their almost limitless bank account allowing them to advertise Apple Music at dizzying levels. Never mind that the upcoming Apple Music Festival will surely promote Apple Music, Connect and Beats 1. And once Apple gets all of their TV ducks in a row I’m sure they’ll find a way to merge the services together.

    I have every intention of subscribing if for no other reason than the price. I have a family of four so for everyone to stream Apple Music is a meager $3.75 per person. Well worth it.

  • SBacklin

    So far, I have, yes. It seems to lack a feature thats important to me. I’m a huge 80’s music fan. I use Pandora and Spotify to have an 80’s station play, 80’s hits or 80’s rock, etc. However, Apple Music only seems to allow stations created based on a specific song or artist. I’ve tried it and it seems to play stuff I don’t care to hear. Its really bizarre. With Pandora, you can just select 80’s and have it go, same with Spotify. Even the older iTunes Radio allowed such station creation but, the new Apple Music doesn’t seem to allow it, if its there, I can’t find it.

    • agreed

    • Brian Meola

      Tap the search button and type in 80’s. You’ll see a whole lot of different 80’s playlists.

      • SBacklin

        I did. However, I didn’t care for playlists. I guess I prefer the radio style that Pandora and Spotify offer. It was a better fit for me.

      • Brian Meola

        I’ve always liked Pandora. Been around so long. No doubt they do the radio style play listing the best. I do like the idea of the human curated playlists. But I’ve listened to some and thought “who the hell made this crap??” lol

      • SBacklin

        That’s exactly what my issue is with Apple Music. My thoughts were exactly “who the hell made this crap?” I guess I expected that part of the old iTunes Radio to be brought along but, it looks like it wasn’t. I sent feedback to Apple regarding the lack of just selecting a genre (radio style) or decade (radio style) and have it go. I might use Apple Music to search and play a selected song if Spotify doesn’t have it but, at this point, I can’t see paying a subscription for it. The lack of the actual radio style listening like Pandora or Spotify kills it for me.

  • Mo Ham

    I never signed up in the 1st place. I seriously doubt that Apple will pay artists what they deserve.

  • I think Apple Music could definitely be improved, but its a solid first go at music streaming service

  • westex

    To be honest, even the 21% of people who have left that Apple admits is an awfully high number for an Apple product. Just sayin.

  • Яков Богданов

    Apple can sweeten the pot in this saturated market by making deals with cellphone companies to exclude the streaming audio from counting against data caps.

    • GaelicSoxFan

      Or they could activate the FM chip in our phones so we can get local radio without streaming audio.

  • Apple Music is great. But not perfect. I like the integration between my own music and the music I subscribe to. I can add subscribed music to my own music and treat them as albums I own as long as I subscribe.

    I don’t have much gripes with the UI either but one thing I miss is better integration with ITunes Store. I would like to be able to play music available through Apple Music straight from the store. Not buy and preview links. And it still seems like a lot of music is missing from Apple Music that is available in the store.

  • Spotify for the win.

  • Stormwatch

    Music streaming = hello, data cap. If you can get a decent connection at all. No thanks. I’d rather just fill a microSD card with mp3 files… oh wait, iPhones don’t have a microSD slot. Too bad!