Apple Music banks on content creation to win artist exclusives

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited June 2016
Operating in the background of the music industry's slow pivot to streaming distribution, Apple is quietly financing music videos, documentaries and other unique opportunities in hopes of scoring fresh exclusives for Apple Music.




Apple is advantage of its unique position as a leading digital content distributor with nearly endless resources to bankroll cutting edge multimedia projects for top artists, a bold step in securing partnerships for its Apple Music streaming service, reports Rolling Stone.

According to the report, Apple financed Eminem's "Phenomenal" music video, Taylor Swift's "The 1989 World Tour" concert film, Drake's "Hotline Bling" and two versions of The Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face." The project is apparently a priority for Apple, as the publication notes even high ranking executives like CEO Tim Cook are getting involved in content production. Cook offered input on M.I.A.'s "Borders" video, for example.

Led by Apple director of original music content Larry Jackson, the content creation initiative was characterized as a corporate experiment when its existence was revealed in reports earlier this year. Today's profile, however, makes it clear Apple views the project as vital to its survival in the music business.

"We'd like to be a home where artists can do their thing," said music mogul turned Apple executive Jimmy Iovine.

The strategy appears to be paying off. Last year, Apple premiered Eminem's video on iTunes to much fanfare, while Apple Music more recently enjoyed two weeks of exclusivity to Drake's "Views from the 6" album when it debuted in April.

Even Taylor Swift, a vocal opponent of unfair streaming music licensing practices, stumped for Apple Music in a recent television ad.

Apple's push for content is good for artists, too. In February, Future's album "EVOL" topped Billboard charts as an Apple Music and iTunes exclusive, and Chance the Rapper's album "Coloring Book" in April became the first streaming exclusive to debut in the top ten of the Billboard 200 albums chart.

Jackson said the goal is to make Apple Music a fixture of pop culture, or at least position the service in close proximity to current goings-on. He likens the model to "MTV in its Eighties and Nineties heyday. You always felt that Michael Jackson or Britney Spears lived there. How do you emotionally conjure up that feeling for people?" In short, Apple wants Apple Music to do for streaming what iTunes did for digital downloads 15 years ago.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    latifbplatifbp Posts: 544member
    That would be awesome if Apple gives us back what MTV has forsaken for so long now 
    lolliverlostkiwimoreckdasanman69
  • Reply 2 of 9
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,019member
    They should bring auto-account provisioning from xCode to their music creation software. Make the chain between creation and store as short as possible for small and big bands alike.

    Even go as far allowing bands to live "bootleg" their own concerts direct in to the store.

    Imagine if they did the same with video as well. Live stream concerts for a small fee to an AppleTV.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,005moderator
    I've said since the Beats acquisition Apple should subsidize budding artists, disintermediating the labels, in exchange for some period of exclusivity.  And create a home in Apple Music to spotlight these exclusive Apple up-and-comers.  
    lolliverlostkiwi
  • Reply 4 of 9
    moreckmoreck Posts: 187member
    This all sounds great, but shouldn't they work with additional genres besides rap and pop?
    lostkiwirhonin
  • Reply 5 of 9
    redefilerredefiler Posts: 323member
    moreck said:
    This all sounds great, but shouldn't they work with additional genres besides rap and pop?
    None of these artists particularly need Apple's investment, and Apple's gaining zero experience in growing talent when they are just cherry picking top established artists and throwing more money for them to continue doing the same.  

    That's not a path towards 'cool' that's just reinforcing the status quo and grafting Apple onto that.  Just remaining as a more neutral aggregator would have yielded all the same content.  It's time for Apple to cut the Hollywood dead weight loose, and bounce Iovine, Dre and Reznor. 
    rhoninlogic2.6
  • Reply 6 of 9

    Apple should make Connect a hub where musicians are more active. As part of the deal in funding music videos and albums, they should get the artists to chat with fans for a session exclusively via Connect.

    Imagine the buzz Apple Music Connect would get if Taylor Swift or Adele did a one hour chat session there. It would truly make the service unique.

    lostkiwi
  • Reply 7 of 9
    I've said since the Beats acquisition Apple should subsidize budding artists, disintermediating the labels, in exchange for some period of exclusivity.  And create a home in Apple Music to spotlight these exclusive Apple up-and-comers.  
    As great as this would be, Apple has to tread carefully. The DOJ is listening and watching everything Apple is doing and waiting for rivals to whisper opposition to Apple's moves. Apple is big, has a lot of money, and is stil despised for not buckling to the overreach of the DOJ and FBI. This does not mean Apple should not compete vigorously, it just means everything the company does must be above reproach.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    That's all well and good, but until Apple Music has adequate social features,* it's an incomplete product, and will be fighting an uphill battle.

    Even if people don't use it, they usually want the option to create a profile, or at the very least follow someone else's profile.

    Also, there's a big difference between "I have" Apple Music/spotify/etc and "I'm on" Apple Music/spotify/etc. The more "I'm on" people there are, the stronger the service.

    *
    -Ability to create a personal profile sharable with others
    -Collaborative playlist creation options
    -Facilitated sharing on social media outlets (e.g. sharing songs, videos, specific lyrics**)
    -Wider audience/membership/distribution

    **
    e.g. Highlight lyrics on Apple Music app, then post on you social media of choice (people will LOVE to do things like this):

    "Wherever you go, whatever you do
    I will be right here waiting for you"
    Listening to Wherever You Go by
    Bryan Adams on Apple Music
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 9 of 9
    rhoninrhonin Posts: 55member
    And this does what toward improving functionality and making it easier / better in use?
    This looks more like a band-aid for a gaping wound of a service.
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