Let’s lay out just how large the head start its competitors have. Apple Music is essentially in fourth place, miles behind Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube, and all the companies ahead of Apple are only getting bigger and better. Pandora, which has 78 million active users, just bought Rdio and has plans to launch an on-demand service late next year, giving its users an in-house option and push it into direct competition with Apple Music.
We live in a world where 6.5 million paying subscribers is considered a “failure”. The service isn’t perfect, sure, but it’s far from terrible. For the millions of people out there with iPhones that are looking for the easiest way to listen to music, it’s right there in front of them and it’s going to get better.
It doesn’t take Spotify losing for Apple Music to be considered a success. It’ll be improved over time and will likely attract and lose users as other services do. At five months, I think it’s early to consider it a non-contender.