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Apple Music reaches reported 10 million subscribers during free trial

Apple Music reaches reported 10 million subscribers during free trial
Apple CEO Tim Cook, right, hugs Jimmy Iovine, who appeared on stage to help introduce the new Apple Music, at the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, June 8, 2015, in San Francisco. (Karl Mondon / TNS)

If industry reports are to be believed, Apple Music has pulled in 10 million subscribers less than a month after the streaming service launched to considerable fanfare, and some early criticism.

Music website Hits Daily Double quotes multiple anonymous sources for the figure, which arrives during the service's three-month free trial period. "The veracity of the statistic is far from sure," Fortune magazine reports in response, "but despite the sketchy sourcing, the report holds some water."

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Fortune notes Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook's remarks last week while discussing the company's third-quarter earnings, during which he said "millions and millions of new customers are already experiencing the new service."

If true, that would be a dramatically faster start than Spotify, which took 5½ years to attract 10 million users. But the music business has changed dramatically in that time, during which consumers have largely shifted from purchasing digital downloads and CDs to streaming music.

Fortune also suggests that those numbers might drop drastically at the end of the free trial period in two more months, "when a credit card prompt appears in three months time on the screens of the supposed 10 million users."

On the rollout of Apple Music, although the three major label groups agreed to forgo royalty payments during the free trial period, many indie labels and some artists objected, notably Taylor Swift, who withheld her blockbuster "1989" album from the service and wrote an open letter urging Apple not to ask musicians to bear the financial burden.

Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue quickly announced a change of heart—and policy-- agreeing that Apple pay normal royalties to musicians and absorb the costs of the promotion. Swift, in turn, offered up "1989" to the streaming service. Apple Music reportedly is now offering music by more than 15,000 artists.

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