Apple’s new Music streaming service has attracted more than 6.5 million paid users, chief executive officer Tim Cook said on Monday.
Speaking at a technology conference organised by The Wall Street Journal in Laguna Beach, California, USA, Cook said that an additional 8.5 million people are participating in a free trial of the Apple Music service. Combined, this gives Apple Music more than 15 million active users in total, which Cook described as a successful debut.
"I'm really happy about it and I think the runway here is really good," Cook said.
Unveiled in June 2015, Apple Music is the technology company's attempt to carry its dominance of digital music established by iTunes into the era of music streaming, pioneered by services such as Spotify and Deezer. Apple allows users to experience its full Music service for free with a 90-day trial period. For the early adopters, their trial periods are now elapsing, which Apple hopes will result in additional paid subscribers.
Analysts have predicted that Apple's service will find a strong following due to the vast installed base of iTunes users, but few think the iPhone maker will eclipse other music streaming companies. Spotify, the industry leader, has more than 20 million paid subscribers worldwide.
In conversation at the California event with Gerard Baker, editor in chief of The Wall Street Journal, Cook also touched on Apple TV, which recently received a long-awaited update. A new version of the set-top box featuring apps and expanded search features will be released later this month, but the product does not include a streaming TV service, which industry executives believe the company is still exploring.
Although television has been slow to change, Cook expressed optimism that the industry will eventually embrace his vision of apps for TV.
"There are very few content owners that believe that the existing model will last forever," Cook said. "I think the most forward-thinking ones are looking and saying, 'I'd rather have the first-mover advantage.'"
Cook did not publicly acknowledge efforts by Apple to build an electric vehicle, a project which many people believe is already underway, although he did sketch out his future vision of what cars will look like.
"What I see is that software becomes an increasingly important component of the car of the future," he said. "You see that autonomous driving becomes much more important."