Older people are more likely to pay for Apple Music

More like Eddy Cue than Drake.
More like Eddy Cue than Drake.
Image: AP/Jeff Chiu
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Apple’s young, hip image may be in jeopardy.

As the initial free trials for Apple Music come to an end, we’ll soon find out if the streaming service is the game-changer it was heralded to be. So far, older listeners are the most likely to stick with Apple Music, according to new research (pdf) by consumer technology research firm Jackdaw Research. The firm surveyed 500 iPhone users about their listening habits through a service called MicroHero.

While young respondents were more likely to sign up for Apple Music’s free 3-month trial—offered when the service launched in June—the report showed that more of the older subscribers in the survey actually paid to stream.

Among Apple Music users under the age of 35, 62% of those asked about the status of their subscriptions said they had already cancelled. Meanwhile, 67% of respondents ages 35 and up said they are now paying subscribers.

The streaming service is retaining older people, in part, because they have more disposable income, said Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research. But they’re also just plain busier, he said. Apple Music has an advantage over competing services there because it’s pre-installed on iOS devices and mixes owned tracks with streamed music. “When you have more money and less time, you’re more likely to spend more to get exactly what you want,” Dawson said.

Young people, on the other hand, gravitate more toward “free,” ad-supported services like YouTube and Spotify, Dawson said.

More than 70% of Spotify listeners are under the age of 35, research firm eMarketer reported in May. The majority of active users, 55 million, stream music on the ad-supported tier that doesn’t cost any money, while other 20 million subscribers listen though the paid platform, the company said in June.

“Younger people are more highly tolerant of ads,” said Dawson. “They’re also more tolerant about having to hunt for things.”