J.D. Power is releasing its first study of customer satisfaction among streaming music services today and in it ranks Apple Music above the competition.
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Apple Music is nearly always used on Apple devices, and the service performs highest in overall satisfaction in part because of the halo effect stemming from the brand’s ecosystem. Apple Music has the highest incidence of customers who say they selected their provider because it is part of their device ecosystem, and the brand’s phone and tablet customers have the highest levels of commitment.
Apple comes out on top because 35% of Apple Music subscribers in the study say they are strongly committed to the streaming service. That’s versus 30% for Google Play Music and Spotify, and 28% for the industry average:
J.D. Power also notes that iPhone, iPad, and Mac users have the highest levels of commitment, noting that 62% say they selected Apple Music because they use Apple devices. That’s versus 52% of Spotify users and 53% of Google Play Music users saying they selected their service based on their device.
The study ranks the services under a few key metrics including Performance, Cost of Service, Ease of use, Content, Communication, and Customer Service. As part of the Performance category, the study also explored “performance indicators” such as how easy it is to save and edit playlists, listen offline, make payments, and other key areas of the user experience. J.D. Power notes Apple performed particularly well in the performance and reliability, content and ease of use categories in order to grab the top spot.
Of note, the study finds that exclusive content releases, of which Apple has ramped up considerably in recent months, improved customer advocacy but currently act a relatively low driver of growth for new subscribers:
Exclusive Content Improves Customer Advocacy: Among customers who listen to content released exclusively on their streaming service, overall satisfaction is 52 points higher than among those who do not, and content satisfaction is 59 points higher. Nearly three-fourths (74%) of customers who listen to exclusive content say they “definitely will” recommend their provider vs. 54% of those who do not who say the same.
Despite the improved customer advocacy, J.D. Power reports that currently “relatively few customers listen to exclusive releases, and even fewer cite “original content” as a reason they selected their streaming provider.”
Google Play ties with TuneIn for the highest number of incidences of listens to exclusive content at 20%, according to the study, while Apple Music comes in just behind at 18%, followed by the industry average at 12% and Spotify at 10%. Only 5% of Apple Music and Google Play users in the study cited exclusives as the reason for subscribing, higher than the industry average at 3% and Spotify at 2%.
Earlier this month Apple announced that it was now at 17 million paying subscribers for Apple Music up from just 13 million since April. Spotify followed that up with its own announcement a week later, confirming that it reached 40 million paid subscribers, outpacing Apple’s growth with an increase of 10 million vs 4 million new paid subscribers for Apple Music over approximately the same six month period.