Beats Music Is Top Downloaded iTunes Music App

Beats Music, which switched on the ability for listeners to buy subscriptions to the service within its iOS app on Sunday, has climbed up the iTunes charts in recent days.

As of Wednesday, Beats was the No. 1 most downloaded app in the music category in iTunes -- above Pandora, Spotify and SoundCloud. Among the Top Grossing music apps, which ranks apps based on how much revenue they generate, Beats came in at No. 8, just below Rhapsody, Slacker and Rdio. (Spotify is not included on this list because it does not offer in-app purchasing on iOS devices.) Among all types of apps, Beats landed in the No. 5 spot among top free apps in the iTunes store, a list that's often overwhelmingly dominated by games.

Launched in January, Beats is the latest entrant in the premium streaming music space. Since then, Beats Music has been furiously testing all the ways it can get people not just to try out its service, but then also decide to pay the monthly fee to keep the service going. In that sense, Beats faces the same challenge as its rivals -- how to convince a generation to pay for music after years of being able to get it for free, either legally from YouTube or illegally from pirate sites.

The Santa Monica music service has thrown its weight behind a partnership with AT&T to market and distribute 30-day and 90-day free trials of Beats Music to the carrier's customers. The move by Beats to give listeners the ability to pay the $9.99 monthly fee is an expensive one because it involves paying Apple 30% of the subscription fee.

Beats has not yet released figures on how many users and paying customers it has, but expectations within the music industry are extraordinarily high, given the high-profile executives involved in the company and the tens of millions of dollars the company is spending in marketing. Among the big names at Beats are Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M. Both are investors in the company. In addition, Trent Reznor serves as Beats Music's Chief Creative Officer, while Ian Rogers, a digital music veteran, is the company's Chief Executive.

The move to let listeners subscribe to Beats Music within its iOS app after the 7-day free trial period expires seems to have boosted interest in the service. Here's another way to look at the effect of the move, which was released Sunday as an update to the app. This chart comes from App Annie, an analytics firm that specializes in mobile apps.