Apple Music survey results

Related: Apple topic page, all Apple Music posts.

The three-month anniversary of the launch of Apple Music passed at the end of September, which means many of the early trial users have been faced with the decision of whether to become paying customers or to cancel the service. As such, I though it was a good time to run some surveys to ascertain who’s using Apple Music, why, and how. The full results of the two surveys I ran in early October, along with detailed methodologies, can be found in a new Jackdaw Research report, which you can download for free here.

In this post, I’m going to focus on just one of the two surveys (which was run through the MicroHero survey app), and specifically address several theories I had put forward in an April Techpinions column. Those theories were:

  1. Apple’s service, like all other paid music, would be most popular among older demographic segments
  2. Discovery would be an important element of the service, and as such those who thought discovery was important would likely gravitate toward the service in higher numbers than those who didn’t
  3. The integration of users’ owned music libraries was likely to be a key feature too, and as such Apple Music would do well among people who valued this feature.

The MicroHero survey had 500 respondents, which is good for a margin of error of about 4 percentage points, but I’m not claiming that the specific percentages I’ll share below are necessarily representative of the general population. As such, you should focus on the trends and patterns shown below rather than the specific percentages.

Age patterns

With regard to the age breakdown, there were two interesting findings: younger users were more likely to have tried Apple Music than older users, but older users were more likely to have become paying customers when their trials ended. The charts below illustrate these two findings:

MicroHero trial signup by age

First off, as you can see, the older users were, the less likely they were to have tried Apple Music — rates were about twice as high for the youngest age group as for the oldest, with some ups and downs in-between. This shouldn’t be surprising, as younger users are typically more tech-savvy, more aware of new trends, are bigger users of music streaming services in general, and so on.

However, when looking at those who did trial Apple Music, older users were far more likely than younger users to have converted their trials to paid subscriptions:

MicroHero sub status by age

As you can see, the percentages here are virtually reversed, with the under 35 age group canceling at roughly the same rate as the 35+ age group became paying subscribers. Again, this shouldn’t be too surprising, even though it’s a reversal of the age pattern for trials. Older listeners have always spent more on music than younger listeners, who tend to have less disposable income and more time on their hands, often giving them a higher tolerance for the disadvantages associated with free music (whether bootleg concert tapes, recording songs off the radio, or listening to music with frequent ad interruptions, depending on the era).

The importance of discovery

One of the early questions in both surveys asked respondents to rank various features of music streaming services in order of importance. Discovering new music wasn’t the top-rated feature, but for those respondents that did rank discovery as highly important, the rate of conversion to paid Apple Music subscriptions was higher than the average. The chart below shows how this group compared to the overall base of respondents on their conversion to paid subscriptions:

MicroHero Discovery conversion

As you can see, the rate of conversion for those who prioritized discovery was similar to the rate of conversion for the 35+ age group we saw above, and significantly higher than the average. This is a great validation of Apple’s strategy to promote discovery as an important feature of Apple Music, which seems to have paid off well.

Owned music integration less important than expected

Conversely, users who said the integration of their own music into a music service was very important didn’t appear to favor paid subscriptions at a different rate from the rest of the respondents, contrary to my theory from April. However, when I asked respondents who had decided to become paid subscribers why they did so, integration of their own music was something over 50% of them said was a significant factor. Below are the results for this question from the second survey, which was run through Qualtrics:

Qualtrics features liked

As you can see, two other features actually ranked higher than the integration of owned music — the integration of Apple Music within iOS (through features such as Siri), and discovering new music. As such, my hunch that owned music integration would be important was borne out somewhat, but not as strongly as my theories about age and discovery.

These and quite a few other findings are outlined in more detail in the report, which features 23 charts in total, relating not just to Apple Music in particular but music consumption habits in general. Again, you can download the report for free here.

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