How is Apple Music performing so far? Not so well, according to one music executive, who compared Apple Music streams on songs from his labels with those of Spotify.
Apple Music was released just about a month ago with great fanfare, and while the reviews are mixed so far, the one thing everyone is really wondering is just how well the service is doing in relation to competitors like Spotify, Pandora and Tidal. It's impossible to get a clear picture of the answer, however, because Apple Music currently has no paying subscribers.
The service is being offered free for three months in a trial period for all subscribers, so the only ones who can view the usage and interaction of users with the service are the record labels that license their music to the service.
All of the major record labels have remained mum so far, but one independent music distributor has given new insight on how Apple Music is doing. DashGo is an independent music distribution company that helps license music on independent labels to digital outlets, including Spotify and Apple Music. The company's CEO, Ben Patterson, has stated that Apple Music streams equal just four percent of the streams of his music on Spotify.
Spotify has 75 million users and Apple Music has at least 10 million, so theoretically, one would expect Apple Music to approach around 13 percent of music streams on Spotify at this point in time. While it therefore appears as if Apple Music is not performing so well, at least for Patterson's label, he hypothesizes that the disparity may be resulting from the type of music released on DashGo, which represents relatively obscure, indie artists.
"I think Beats One [Apple's free radio station] is very solid, and Taylor Swift is chalking up tens of millions of streams, but I don't think the plays are trickling down as deeply," says Patterson. He also believes a lack of user generated playlists may be hurting Apple, as users find it more difficult to discover new music. Apple Music playlists are currently limited to those curated by experts as opposed to users of the service.
"Perhaps the absence of general-public playlists limits exposure," he states.
While this anecdotal evidence is very interesting, there are just too many variables involved to definitively judge Apple Music's performance just yet. In the coming months, we should get a better idea of how the streaming service is doing, especially when subscribers' trial periods begin running out beginning in October.