Apple is embracing the holiday season this year by helping its employees try out some of the products they’re trying so hard to sell.
According to Apple executive Eddy Cue, the company will be giving its retail store employees a nine-month subscription to Apple Music later this month. Interestingly enough, this isn’t the only gift that Apple is giving its employees. Last week, Apple gave all of its employees a pair of urBeats earphones as well, so now users have a music subscription and a way to listen to it.
The news was shared by Cue through a video message, according to MacRumors. The earphones themselves are worth $100, and the subscription worth $90, so combined the gifts are worth a pretty hefty $190. That’s considerably more than the $60 backpack that Apple gave its employees last year.
Apple gives a gift out to its employees every year, and those employees include those at its retail stores, and those based at its Cupertino headquarters and off-site offices. Even the international offices get the gifts. Apple employs 66,000 people in the U.S., including 30,000 retail employees. In total, Apple employs over 100,000 people worldwide, so giving these gifts is a pretty considerable expense. Perhaps it’s small change for a company like Apple, but the gesture is a nice one nonetheless.
Not only is the gift a considerate one, but it should also help geniuses at Apple Stores understand the service they’re selling, and promote it accordingly. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple Music has 6.5 million paying customers, with another 8.5 million using the free trial. While this is quite a few people, it is still considerably less than the likes of Spotify, which has over 40 million customers worldwide, according to Forbes.
Without the paid subscription, Apple Music isn’t totally useless to customers. Users can still log in to an account with their Apple ID, and can still listen to the Beats 1 radio station run by ex-BBC DJ Zane Lowe. Users can stream with Apple Music to their iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or their computer through iTunes. Even Android phones now have an Apple Music app.
Perhaps the gifts are part of the reason why Apple is such a highly-rated company to work for. While it is a little lower than the likes of Google and Airbnb when it comes to top rated companies to work for, Apple placed 25 on Glassdoor’s list of best places to work for, a list topped by Airbnb.
While Apple Music currently has fewer subscribers than the likes of Spotify, it’s still certainly on the way up, something that is helped by things like the recent announcement that Apple would be giving subscribers exclusive access to a new concert video from Taylor Swift, an announcement that is part of an ongoing promotion for Apple Music.
That particular announcement is somewhat of a surprising one, especially considering the history between Apple and Taylor Swift. Swift was extremely vocal against Apple’s free trial because of the fact that the company had decided that it would not be paying out royalties during the free trial. In the end, Apple bowed to the pressure and announced that it had changed its mind and would in fact pay royalties to artists and labels, even during the free trial period.
Of course, it’s going to be tough for Apple Music to overtake services like Spotify, however the fact that it is able to push the service to so many people that have Apple devices almost certainly helped its numbers initially.
After that first wave, however, it will be a little more difficult for Apple to gain subscribers, and the company will instead have to rely on other promotional methods, and not so much on being able to simply push the service to those that have Apple devices.
Only time will tell if there ends up being a clear winner in the streaming service war, however for now the clear winner is Spotify, and while new services that might be better will pop up, such as Apple Music, being better doesn’t necessarily mean that a service will become the most popular.
Learn More: How to Stream Holiday Jingles Using Apple Music