Apple Music Claims North American Lead in Streaming, Company Earnings Up 17 Percent

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"In some of the markets that we've been in for a long period of time, we're doing quite well," CEO Tim Cook said of the streaming service's success, noting a lead in Japan as well.

Apple announced financial results for its third quarter 2018 on Tuesday (July 31), revealing $53.3 billion in revenue. 

That revenue total is an increase of 17 percent year-over-year, while quarterly earnings per diluted share of the company stock is up a record 40 percent to $2.34. International sales accounted for 60 percent of the quarter's revenue.

"We're thrilled to report Apple’s best June quarter ever, and our fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth," said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement. "Our Q3 results were driven by continued strong sales of iPhone, Services and Wearables, and we are very excited about the products and services in our pipeline."

Added Apple CFO Luca Maestri: "Our strong business performance drove revenue growth in each of our geographic segments, net income of $11.5 billion, and operating cash flow of $14.5 billion. We returned almost $25 billion to investors through our capital return program during the quarter, including $20 billion in share repurchases."

On an earnings call Tuesday, Cook emphasized this quarter's revenues marked the seventh consecutive quarter of accelerating growth for the country and the fourth consecutive quarter with double digit growth. 

Among Apple's areas of growth were iPhone sales, which sold 41.3 billion units in the quarter -- only a 1 percent increase YOY, but a 20 percent increase in revenue, thanks to the iPhone X that starts at $999, driving $29.9 billion revenue in the past quarter. Wearables and other products brought in $3.7 billion, a 37 percent increase YOY. 

As well, services saw a notable 31 percent growth, with over $9.5 billion revenue in the quarter. That includes a 60 percent uptick since the same time last year in paid subscriptions from Apple and third parties to reach over 300 million in all. 

Cook also touted considerable growth for Apple Music, which now tops "well over" 50 million current subscribers and free trial users, and said revenues on Apple Music grew over 50 percent during the quarter. That user figure, claimed Cook, makes Apple Music the market leader in North America -- topping streaming rival Spotify, which Cook did not specifically name. That assertion also presumably relates to subscriber numbers, as Apple Music -- unlike Spotify -- does not have a free tier beyond its three month trial period. 

Spotify did not respond to Billboard's request for comment at time of publishing. 

"Were moving along at a very, very good rate," said Cook. "It appears to us ... that we took the leadership position in North America during the quarter and we had the leadership position in Japan, so in some of the markets that we've been in for a long period of time, we're doing quite well."

Cook went on to say that outside of China there are currently less than 200 million people streaming around the world, noting the potential that lies in growing the market. 

"But really the key thing in music is not the competition between the companies that are providing music, the real challenge is to grow the market," he said. "It does seem to me there's an extraordinary opportunity in that business to grow the market well and I think if we put our emphasis there, which we're doing, that we'll be a beneficiary of that -- as other people will as well."


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