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Beats Music not off to a flying start, sources claim

By | Published on Tuesday 22 April 2014

Beats Music

Beats Music managed to sign up fewer than 100,000 paying subscribers in its first 100 days out of beta, sources have told Billboard. And this would seem roughly in line with a Bloomberg report last month, claiming that 28,000 people had subscribed during the company’s the first month.

The company itself has so far released no figures, though the latest estimates reported by label sources – ie ‘fewer’ than 100,000 sign ups in total – could either be seen as Beats settling into a rhythm of signing up around 1000 new customers per day, or suggest that conversions from its free trial have slowed slightly over time, depending on what is meant by ‘fewer’.

Certainly, Bloomberg’s initial report last month was written and received a lot more positively than this latest one. Billboard’s sources certainly seem to be going with the whole ‘it’s not really going that great’ view, with one label exec telling the magazine: “Jimmy [Iovine] is finding out this is tougher than it looks. This business takes time”.

Another (or perhaps the same one, who knows?), added: “We’ve learned from Spotify that you have to fund free for a length of time with users investing time, creating playlists and getting used to the service”.

That Beats does not currently have a freemium option, rather offering a two week free trial before payment is required (already increased from seven days due to problems at launch), has been a criticism since the service launched. Though, of course, you’ll find plenty of other people who will tell you that ad-funded free streaming does not pay high enough royalties to be viable as a business model longterm.