While Apple’s iPhone business didn’t end 2018 on a high note, iTunes and Apple Music are growing at a good clip according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. 

During the company’s first earning call of 2019, Cook made the announcement that Apple Music had crossed the 50 million subscriber mark at the tail-end of last year and the services side of the business – which includes Apple Pay, Apple Music, Apple News and the 30,000 subscription-based apps on the App Store – is up 40% year-over-year.

At last check, Spotify, the world’s largest dedicated music streaming service, only had around 70 million paying subscribers but was still leading the pack. That might not be the case for much longer if Apple can continue this momentum. 

This time last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple’s music streaming service only had around 36 million paying subscribers, which means that it’s packed on quite a few subscribers in the last 12 months. (It’s worth pointing out that Apple already announced it had 50 million subscribers in May 2018, but that number included trial subscribers as well.)

But AirPods 2 and Apple streaming service are no-shows 

Disappointingly, however, Cook didn’t have as much to say about the next-generation AirPods or video streaming service, which is rumored to come out by mid-April of this year – only commenting briefly during the Q&A section to say “We’re not ready to extend that conversation today… we’ll share more on that later.”

The silver lining, at least if you’re Apple, is that both those two areas of the business are growing – 40% year-over-year in the case of services and 33% growth in wearables thanks to the AirPods and Apple Watch.

Does that mean 2019 is the year Apple refocuses its efforts on the music side? Only time will tell.

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