Apple has announced that Apple Music, its streaming music service, now has 20 million paid subscribers. This is a significant jump of 15% since September, when Apple announced that 17 million people had signed up for the service. Apple's Eddy Cue also said that 60% of subscribers hadn't purchased music from the iTunes Store in 12 months, and that majority of those customers are new, rather than former iTunes users.
In an interview with Billboard, Cue marked some of Apple Music's achievements in the last 18 months, such as helping push for greater exposure for hip-hop in streaming music:
In the case of hip-hop artists, Apple is clearly leading the streaming charge and helping influence traditional radio and club play as well. Not surprising with Interscope Records founder and Dr. Dre bestie Jimmy Iovine at the helm, but Cue adds that Apple has long looked to give the genre more exposure, even if the Silicon Valley institution has traditionally been affiliated more with rock acts like U2 and Cue's favorite Bruce Springsteen. "We've always thought that hip-hop was underrepresented both in iTunes and in the streaming chart. And more people listen to hip-hop now than ever before so we've done a lot of work in that area."
Cue also noted that Apple Music helped push Chance the Rapper's album Coloring Book into the top 10 on the Billboard chart only through streaming, rather than album purchases.
Apple Music originally launched in June 2015, offering millions of songs for a monthly subscription of $9.99 for individuals, and $14.99 for families. Since then, the service has courted users with exciting exclusive albums, tracks, and videos, while also introducing special pricing for college students earlier this year.