Beats Music’s first 100 days on the market have been a huge disappointment, with label sources estimating the service’s paid subscriber count is in the “low six figures.” That conflicts with reports from company insiders claiming the service is being used by “millions of people,” and has actually exceeded internal projections. The service recently updated its iOS app to allow for in-app purchases, seemingly in an effort to drive higher adoption numbers.
Despite a huge marketing push, including a Super Bowl TV spot and an AT&T promotional bundle, Beats Music has failed to make significant headway against the competition. Entering the crowded streaming market was always going to be a daunting task, and executives are finding out that creating a successful platform is harder than it looks. “This business takes time,” one executive defended. The lack of early success hasn’t deterred industry executives, however, who are apparently remaining supportive of Beats Music.
Beats Music hasn’t yet revealed subscriber numbers, so it’s difficult to tell whether the service has been a failure or not. Industry labels have deduced public interest by the service’s revenue impact; the most important metric labels are paying close attention to is Beats Music’s “conversion rate,” which tracks whether free trials turn into paying subscribers. Conversion rates allegedly haven’t been good thus far, and Beats is considering a more aggressive free music campaign to help attract users. Eventually it hopes users will get comfortable inside the platform, and then pay the $9.99 monthly fee.
In addition to services like Google Music All Access, Pandora, iTunes Radio and Spotify, there are rumors Amazon could soon enter the fray, meaning it’ll get even more difficult for Beats Music to come across paying subscribers. Music industry executives are reportedly optimistic, however, and have faith that Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, who helped start the service, can build a viable competitor.