Apple’s Eddy Cue talks subscriber numbers, exclusive release strategy

Apple’s flashy senior vice president of Internet software and services, Eddy Cue, gave an update on the subscription music service during the Code Media conference last night. Cue said Apple Music is now “well past” 20 million paying listeners. Although the company is “thrilled” with the growth, it’s not planning to be complacent. “We still think the potential for growth is exponential. So no, we’re not satisfied and we want a lot more,” he said.

Cue also touched on the concept of exclusives. New music releases that are gated to Apple Music have been a core component of the platform’s approach. “In general, I think the exclusives are promotions,” he said. “The world has always had promotions, and I think it’ll continue to do that.” In contrast, he opined that long-term exclusives were not good for the music industry. For instance, Beyoncé’s masterwork Lemonade is still only available to stream on Tidal, although it can be downloaded or purchased through other outlets. “Ultimately it’s never good for the music industry if it was separated on a long term basis, but on a promotional basis, on acts that we’re doing unique [partnerships] with, I think that’s great for music,” Cue said.

Watch the full video of the interview above (Apple Music discussion begins at 20 minutes).

Anna Washenko


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