Apple Music doubling down on artist-first strategy, adding more live music

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 7
Apple Music executives Zane Lowe and Oliver Schusser talk about where Apple Music is headed, discussing how their "artist first" approach offers a unique experience for listeners.

The future of Apple Music


Apple Music launched in 2015 and has been growing and changing ever since. However, current figured put it at 60 million active subscribers, which is noticeably behind Spotify's nearly 84 million. This begs the question--where is Apple Music headed? Wired spoke with Apple Music's Oliver Schusser and Zane Lowe to get a picture of where Apple Music is headed in the coming year.

When it comes to streaming music, Apple Music takes a different approach than most. For most streaming services, such as Spotify, they've chosen to put the fan at the center of the service. Apple, on the other hand, has chosen to rally behind the artists.

The introduction of Beats 1, Apple's 24/7 music radio station, brought an eclectic mix curated music to listeners across the globe. Beats 1 features artist-run shows, with hosts such as Nicki Minaj, Billie Eilish, and even Elton John. The plan, according to Lowe, is to bring in even more artists and prominent DJs to the Beats 1 scene.

"I want more people to listen and discover this stuff," says Lowe. "And I want to integrate what we do at Beats 1 into Apple Music more thoroughly. I would guess there are still subscribers who don't realize Elton John has done over 200 shows. Those shows are works of art in their own right."

Additionally, Beats 1 has begun documenting the creative process in real time, giving artists the chance to discuss music both pre-launch and post-mortem.

Apple Music itself is going through some big changes. Apple had recently rebranded some of their former playlists, including ALT CTRL and Rap Life, hoping to build more dedicated shows to fit into these genres.

Apple stores have also begun hosting small gigs for emerging musicians this year, and hopes to continue to do more live events in the next year.

More live streamed events are also on the docket, according to Lowe, who said "fans can tune in, then after watching it maybe you go to the album." Some live streamed events have included after-events with artists such as Shawn Mendes and Tyler the Creator.

Apple Music has also given artists a new tool: the pre-add. Fans can pre-add an album or song to their Apple Music library, giving them the ability to listen to it the moment it goes live. As it turns out, users are four times more likely to complete an album if they've pre-added it to their library, and 1.5 times more likely to listen to it again.

"We think artists should get paid," says Schusser, "and we're adding more credits to songwriters, not just artists. We think the decision not to do a free tier has really paid off, after four years. We don't think music should be free."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 4
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,893member
    We think artists should get paid," says Schusser, "and we're adding more credits to songwriters, not just artists.

    Oh dear, the music companies and distributors don’t like those priorities.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 4
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 616member
    It would be nice to see Apple do a remake of the old MTV Unplugged....

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTV_Unplugged
    edited October 8 genovellewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 4
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,269member
    That's fine to focus on the artists.   Unfortunately it seems that they focus mostly on the artists that THEY like rather than the ones I like.

    It would be helpful for them to return the artist spotlight feature that they started with so I could keep up with the artists that like.  It would also be helpful if instead "favorites" being limited to individual songs that it could be extended to artists and albums.

    In a lot of ways, I miss the old record stores where I could go in and hear and learn about new music from artists and genres that I like.   (The genre's Apple uses are mostly pretty worthless to me)
    mobird
  • Reply 4 of 4
    That's fine to focus on the artists.   Unfortunately it seems that they focus mostly on the artists that THEY like rather than the ones I like.

    It would be helpful for them to return the artist spotlight feature that they started with so I could keep up with the artists that like.  It would also be helpful if instead "favorites" being limited to individual songs that it could be extended to artists and albums.

    In a lot of ways, I miss the old record stores where I could go in and hear and learn about new music from artists and genres that I like.   (The genre's Apple uses are mostly pretty worthless to me)
    The problem, George, is that, having all the resources you can possibly dream of, Apple never dared to implement a decent relational database to manage the content. That simple. And of course, a decent interface as to render that information useful. They went the easy way of using the flat file information contained in the metadata of records, provided by some third party service (can't remember the name right now). Even worse, the thing is so absurd that I understand that in some circumstances this hired service has to kind of "shazam" the audio file in order to be able to classify it... (that would be like printing and OCRing each piece of text you want to process, even if it is digitally available). And so, if the same artist is named in three different ways in those metadata files, rendering three different searching results (no AI here...), they simply don't matter. Don't even think about cross-relating records or artists: that would be science fiction for this "AI driven" Apple, because the record information - which musicians are playing, what instruments, when it was recorded, etc- doesn't even exist in Apple's database in the first place. . . But wait! Apple humanly "cures" the content (have you ever heard of another snake-oil like that?).

    It's amazing the truly basic things users are still requesting from Music year after year, yet nothing gets fixed and the service still sucks. No decent database, unusable searching tools, terribly confusing navigation, annoying inconsistencies between Mac and iOS, and -completely unforgivable- still no lossless (among hundreds of flaws). While I'm still paying the Music family plan, I switched to Tidal a couple of months ago (and before that, to iDagio for classical music), and never touched Music again, that I used for several hours daily since it started (and long before that, with iTunes match, etc). Can't be happier with the move. Both are much better in every single aspect... and yes, lossless. Those tiny companies could do it, but not the world's largest one... 
    GeorgeBMac
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