How loyal are Apple Music users? Not very, suggests new study

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Earlier this month, Apple boasted it had roped over 11 million subscribers into its new Apple Music service, but a recent study suggests the company could see an exodus of subscribers beginning in October. MusicWatch, a company which specializes in marketing research and analysis for the music and entertainment industry, has found that a majority of Apple Music users won’t likely stick around after their free trial periods end.

According to MusicWatch’s findings, almost half  (48 percent) of people who opted to try Apple Music when it was initially released aren’t currently using the streaming service, while 61 percent of subscribers said they had already changed their account settings to ensure their subscription won’t auto-renew. The only silver lining is that of those who are currently using the service, 64 percent reported that they’re “extremely” or “very likely” to continue to use the service after their free trial comes to an end.

Apple, however, refutes the survey. In a statement made to The Verge, the company claims that its data shows that 79 percent of those who signed up are still using the service.

It’s important to note that MusicWatch’s sample size was fairly small; the company arrived at its conclusions by surveying 5,000 U.S. consumers, age 13 and older, and then weighting the data to U.S. population. Nonetheless, the fact that many users seem to be poised to leave at the end of their free trial should worry Apple Music. The streaming service may have managed to amass a huge user base since its June launch, but the survey indicates that the group isn’t very loyal.

MusicWatch also found that 28 percent of Spotify Premium customers use Apple Music as well, indicating that they may be shopping around before deciding which streamer they’ll break up with and which they’ll ultimately stick with. So far, a much smaller portion of Spotify Free and Pandora users are using Apple Music (11 and 6 percent, respectively), so evidently they’re pretty content with their ad-supported, but otherwise free, streaming.

The good news for Apple is that its streaming music service currently has 2 million paying subscribers already — those who elected to sign up for a family plan rather than create individual accounts for free. There’s also still over a month left on free trials for the earliest subscribers.

Apple has been pulling some rabbits out of its hat recently, and likely has more to go. Earlier this month, Apple became the exclusive streamer for Dr. Dre’s latest album, Compton, which has reportedly been streamed over 25 Million times sice its release, and the company also recently announced its first-ever music festival, which will begin its 10-night run on September 19. If Apple keeps coming with the exclusives, it might just convince some of the uncommitted to renew their subscriptions.

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