Apple’s push into subscription services is continuing at a brisk pace, with CEO Tim Cook confirming that the Apple Music service has surpassed 50 million subscribers as the company prepares to launch a video service. Cook’s remarks came during an upcoming televised interview with Bloomberg Television, pieces of which were previewed today.
According to Cook, Apple Music has reached the 50 million subscriber mark when paid memberships and trials are combined, up from the 40 million paid member number Apple disclosed in April. By comparison, rival Spotify recently hit 75 million premium subscribers with nearly a decade’s head start on Apple Music. Their respective growth rates suggest that Apple might catch up with Spotify in 2019 or 2020.
Cook also acknowledged Apple’s plans to build a video content business, which has been widely reported upon for months by the TV and movie industry trade press but only modestly discussed by Apple executives. “We are very interested in the content business,” said Cook, and “we will be playing in a way that is consistent with our brand. We’re not ready to give any details on it yet. But it’s clearly an area of interest.”
Apple reportedly has committed at least $1 billion to creating original video content, engaging recently hired executives from the TV world to develop roughly a dozen shows consistent with the company’s optimistic, family-friendly brand. Most of the shows are believed to already be in production, with expected rollouts next spring, though it remains unclear how Apple will bundle and/or monetize them.
The Bloomberg interview also discusses Cook’s recent interactions with the Trump administration, noting that he “criticized Donald Trump’s approach to trade with China in a recent White House meeting, while urging the president to address the legal status of immigrants known as Dreamers.” Cook apparently told Trump that “tariffs were not the right approach [in China], and … showed him some more analytical kinds of things to demonstrate why.”
Cook’s full interview with Bloomberg will apparently be aired in June. Apple will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference from June 4 to June 8, and Cook is expected to offer more substantial updates during a first-day keynote address.