Apple Music Met With Open Arms (and Lots of Subscribers) in Russia

Jimmy Iovine
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images 

Jimmy Iovine speaks during the Apple World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, California on June 8, 2015.

Russia quickly becomes one of Apple Music's biggest markets.

The number of Apple Music subscribers has reportedly reached 300,000 in Russia, making it the fifth largest market for the service.

The business daily Vedomosti reported the 300,000 figure, citing its sources, while Apple hasn't disclosed the number of Apple Music subscribers yet. Sources in the Russian record industry told Billboard that the figure is about right and Russia is quite likely to be on the top 5 of Apple Music biggest markets in the number of subscribers.

The figure places Apple Music as either No. 2 or No. 3 in the subscriber count ranking as Google Play Music won't disclose the number of subscribers and the local service Yandex.Music is the segment's unquestioned leader at the moment.

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A spokesperson for Apple's Russian office declined to comment.

Apple Music launched in Russia in late June 2015. The monthly subscription fee after a three-month trial period is 169 rubles ($2.2 at the current exchange rate), compared with $9.99 in the United States.

According to the Vedomosti report, the launch of Apple Music also had a negative impact on sales of individual tracks and albums on iTunes, which have declined by about a quarter over the six months that Apple Music has been available in Russia.

iTunes was launched in Russia in late 2012 and for the first couple years of operation it was believed to be the biggest player in the digital music segment.

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Apple Music's main competitors in Russia are Google Play Music and the local streaming service Yandex.Music, operated by the country's largest internet company, Yandex, which is often referred to as "the Russian Google."

The Sweden-based service Spotify planned to launch in Russia in early 2015 but then abandoned its plans, citing poor economic conditions as the main reason.

The subscription fee for Google Play Music is 159 rubles ($2.1) after a two-month trial period. Yandex.Music is available for free, and a premium subscription that allows a user to listen to music without ads and to save tracks on their mobile devises costs 149 rubles ($1.9) a month.

According to IFPI, the music streaming segment more than doubled in Russia in 2014, reaching $5.97 million. 2015 figures are not yet available.


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