Apple Music hits 50 million subscribers

Apple’s push into subscription services is continuing at a brisk pace, as CEO Tim Cook has confirmed that the Apple Music service has surpassed 50 million subscribers as the company prepares to launch a video service. Cook’s remarks came during an upcoming televised interview with Bloomberg Television, pieces of which were previewed today.

According to Cook, Apple Music has reached the 50 million subscriber mark when paid memberships and trials are combined, up from the 40 million paid member number Apple disclosed in April. By comparison, rival Spotify recently hit 75 million premium subscribers with nearly a decade’s head start on Apple Music, with a growth rate that suggests Apple might catch up in 2019 or 2020.

Cook also acknowledged Apple’s plans to build a video content business, which have been widely reported upon for months by the TV and movie industry trade press, but only modestly discussed by Apple executives. “We are very interested in the content business,” said Cook, and “we will be playing in a way that is consistent with our brand. We’re not ready to give any details on it yet. But it’s clearly an area of interest.”

Apple reportedly has committed at least $1 billion to creating original video content, engaging recently hired executives from the TV world to develop roughly a dozen shows consistent with the company’s optimistic, family-friendly brand. Most of the shows are believed to already be in production, with expected rollouts next spring, though it remains unclear how Apple will bundle and/or monetize them.

Apple Music hits 50 million subscribers as CEO confirms video push