(Reuters) – Apple Inc on Wednesday appointed a new executive to oversee its Apple Music streaming business and hit 48 million subscribers, the company said.
Apple said it had appointed Oliver Schusser as vice president of Apple Music and international content. Schusser, who joined Apple 14 years ago, will report directly to Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue and will also oversee Apple’s services outside the United States, including the App Store and iTunes.
Apple’s top streaming music rival Spotify Technology SA has 71 million so-called premium subscribers, a figure that includes users who have given the company a credit card number for a free trial. Spotify became a public company earlier this month after holding a so-called direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
On a comparable basis, the Apple Music service has 48 million subscribers, 40 million of whom are paying subscribers and 8 million of whom are on a free trial, Apple said. Both firms charge $9.99 a month for streaming music but provide discounts for student and family plans.
Variety magazine earlier reported the new subscriber figures and Schusser’s promotion. He previously built up Apple’s services businesses outside the U.S. in 155 markets, including China, Japan and Latin America, Apple said.
Apple’s services business, which includes Apple Music, the App Store and iCloud, is becoming increasingly important to the Apple’s financial outlook because the smart phone market has matured and iPhone sales growth has slowed. In its most recent quarter, Apple’s services business grew 18 percent to $8.4 billion, missing analyst expectations of $8.6 billion.