Earlier today a new survey over Apple Music usage surfaced with data over Apple’s new venture into the streaming music space, and Apple has decided to respond (vaguely) to at least one data point. MusicWatch’s survey results said that some 61 percent of its participants have turned off the auto-renew function on Apple Music, hinting that they would not be paying subscribers after the three-month free trial period. With the message being potentially interpreted that only 39 percent of current Apple Music users planning to become paid users this fall, Apple has responded to the survey by clarifying (somewhat) that a higher 79 percent of users that started the trial are continuing to use it, leaving only 21 percent of Apple’s 11 million subscribers as defectors.
The response doesn’t exactly say a whole lot about Apple Music’s usage data, however, as it’s unclear what Apple qualifies as still using the service.
MusicWatch’s question specifically asked how many participants turned off the auto-renew feature which is required to keep an active account after the trial, but it’s likely some users disabled it before forming an opinion on Apple Music simply to avoid an unexpected $10-$15 charge three months down the road.
There’s also the lack of clarity about what exactly Apple means when it describes the 70 percent of active users. Are users still opening the Music app? Still engaging with Apple Music’s specific features? Still playing Beats 1 which is free and doesn’t require Apple Music? Apple also told New York Post reporter Claire Atkinson that 79 percent of people in the free trial are using on a weekly basis.
Finally, there’s naturally a disadvantage for data received from a limited survey of Apple Music participants versus the whole wealth of usage data Apple can view. Whereas MusicMatch’s survey may be accurate and should be somewhat representative of the larger picture, the variances in measuring an active user that plans to convert to a paid subscriber after the trial period makes the two data points fairly apples to oranges. Still, it’s clear Apple viewed that metric alone as not fitting its own narrative on Apple Music as it continues its launch campaign for the streaming music service.