Despite rumoured, and practically confirmed, acquisition plans from Apple for US$3.2 billion, Beats Music, the subscription streaming service from the popular headphone brand, has just over 100,000 users according to a new report.
As The Guardian reports, the actual user count for Beats Music is strengthened by the fact that 61,621 of these accounts are part of the Beats Music ‘Family-Plan’, which can allow up to 5-users for AT&T users at US$14.99 a month, compared to the US$9.99 a month for individual users. The numbers are weak though compared to Spotify’s 1 million US users (as of March 2013), despite a strong marketing campaign, including Super-Bowl commercials, and a backing from US carrier AT&T.
But the report gets worse. For every play, Beats Music pays $0.000126 to labels compared to the $0.006 and $0.0084 Spotify pays per play. Many Spotify users are also not paying a cent, while Beats Music requires a paid subscription.
While Beats are celebrity, and therefore artist endorsed, the actual return for artists and labels is incredibly sketchy if this report is to be believed. It also does bring into question the value of the Beats brand.
The only good news? Beats Music users are engaged. Throughout the month of March each user played an average of 2,357 songs each.
Basically, Beats Music, for now at least, is struggling to find new users, and is also a far worse generator of revenue for labels and musicians. This is also considering the fact that many users are likely still part of a 90-day free-trial offered through AT&T.
Again, though, we’re left asking why Apple bought the company in the first place. Expensive, high-margin headphones? Or as an attempt to boost iTunes Radio’s own poor user engagement levels. Only time will tell.