Picture: Karen Bleier, AFP

London - Apple wants us to know its music streaming service is a success, and has put out some juicy numbers to back it up.

The tech giant says it has secured 15 million subscribers, 6.5 million of whom actually paid fees, with the remainder still in the free-trial period. This is impressive, given that it is only three weeks since the first tranche of users came off their free tasters. Based on Apple saying 11m people had signed up for the trial in August, the conversion rate is nearly 60 per cent.

Assuming that holds good for the remaining 8.5 million on trials at the moment, the company could soon have 11.5 million paying customers generating annual revenues approaching $1.5bn (£1bn). If, that is, they stick with it.

Not all of them will. There are reasons to be sceptical about even the 6.5 million paying punters, as some of them may simply have forgotten to cancel and may choose to do so once the subscription fee coming out of their accounts serves as a reminder.

But there should also be a steady flow of new additions to the subscriber base. Paid-for streaming does seem to be catching on, and Apple Music is embedded in the eco-system of Apple's devices and of iTunes. It assails users every time they open the app just as Amazon assails its customers with its Prime service every time they buy something.

Regardless, that a large number of people can be persuaded to pay for music will come as relief to an embattled music industry. The fees per stream are tiny - a fraction of a cent, or a penny - and just a fraction of that will end up in the pockets of artists. But if the web can be made to work for those artists... well, something is better than nothing.

As for Apple, the revenues provided by its music service are still tiny when set against the iPhone. But any diversification is welcome given how reliant the company has become on its signature product, and the genuine questions being raised over whether it has lost its ability to innovate.

Apple's news flow has been less than happy of late. The Apple Watch has hardly set the world alight, and the latest operating system has been plagued with problems. While most of its rivals would still run over hot coals to get their hands on just a few of the things Apple has in its favour, it's no wonder chief executive Tim Cook is keen to pump up the volume about Apple music. He and his company need something to smile about. Put the needle on the record.

THE INDEPENDENT