Music site Hits Daily Double cites “inside sources at some of the major labels” as stating that Apple Music signed up more than 10M subscribers in the first four weeks, saying the number was shared with them by Apple.

The site says both Apple and the labels were surprised by the speed of adoption, noting that streaming figures for some tracks – which include “a couple of cutting-edge hip-hop titles” – are on a par with Spotify, which has around 75M subscribers … 

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While 10M is a big number, I’m actually surprised it’s not higher, given that it was offered free of charge to 100 countries worth of iPhone owners the first time they opened the new Music app after upgrading to iOS 8.4. This may reflect the issues and outages experienced by early adopters, with even noted Apple fans like Jim Dalrymple describing it as a nightmare – and Zac Hall suggesting that it should have been labelled a beta service.

Hits reports that some music labels want Apple to make the numbers public, believing that they will encourage others to join the trial. Apple has so far not revealed specific numbers, Tim Cook stating only that “millions and millions” had signed-up. The company is said to be planning “a barrage of TV spots” around the MTV Video Music Awards.

The real test, of course, will be how many trial subscribers convert to paid ones at the end of the free three-month trial. One possible metric is Spotify’s claimed 20M paid subscribers from a 75M base, a conversion rate of around one in four. However, it should be noted that Spotify offers U.S. subscribers an initial three months’ Premium service for just 99c – and is likely counting those as paid subscribers, meaning the number paying $9.99/month will be significantly lower.

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