Apple Music has surpassed 20 million paid subscribers, the company’s SVP of Internet software and services tells Billboard. That marks a 15% jump in the last 3 months, when Apple announced it had passed 17 million users during its iPhone event in September.
That’s impressive considering the streaming music service is less than two years old and up against veterans like Spotify with much larger user bases. Cue attributes some of Apple Music’s growth to its string of exclusive deals with artists like Drake and Travis Scott.
“It’s been quite a year,” says Cue. “We were thrilled to see that we could take [artists’] passions and drive them all the way to No. 1. Chance the Rapper, who we put on Apple Music exclusively, hit the top 10 on the Billboard charts [based on streams alone], and I can’t recall that being done before.”
And despite a mandate from Universal Music Group chairman Lucian Grainge, exclusives will continue in the near future “where appropriate,” adds Cue. “They work really well for everybody concerned — they’re great for the label, they work for the artist and for us.” But an across-the-board Apple policy concerning such promotions doesn’t exist. “It’s really about launching things,” says Cue. “Sometimes it makes sense to do that.”
Cue adds that 60% of customers using Apple Music have not purchased content from the iTunes Music Store within the last year, and a majority are new customers. The service is available in more than 100 countries now, and 50% of all users are outside of the US.