Billboard spoke to executive Jimmy Iovine, creative director, Zane Lowe, and head of content, Larry Jackson, about the direction of the music industry and Apple’s roll in its future.
During the interview, Iovine revealed that Apple Music subscriptions have topped 30 million, which is up from the 27 million subscribers quoted during WWDC in June. That’s still materially behind the 60 million subscribers claimed by Spotify, which is planning to go public later this year.
Iovine’s reaction is that the state of streaming today is not enough, but he remains upbeat projecting his trademark enthusiasm in the interview:
“I believe we’re in the right place, we have the right people and the right attitude to not settle for what exists right now.” But ultimately? “Just because we’re adding millions of subscribers and the old catalog numbers are going up, that’s not the trick. That’s just not going to hold.”
The interview is light on specifics about what’s next for Apple Music and what it will take to move streaming forward, but it’s clear from Lowe’s response to how he thinks music streaming must change that the answer involves more than just the streaming music itself:
We need to put context and stories around music. The song itself is obviously the primary passion point -- it’s a key that opens the door. But what’s inside the room that is going to make a fan a super fan? Music has become quicker, faster, and there’s more of it. That doesn't mean you shouldn't create a story around something that is beautiful and that lives and breathes.
Apple Music’s moves into video production, advertising, and similar areas, which are discussed during the interview, may provide a hint of what’s on the horizon. The goal of drawing listeners into the stories behind their favorite artists and music to help grow the audience feels a lot like a reimagining of what was attempted without much success with Apple Music Connect.
Apple confirmed to Music Business Worldwide that the Apple Music Festival is coming to an end. The event, which was originally called the iTunes Music Festival, debuted in 2007. Over the course of 10 years the festival showcased some of the biggest names in music, as well as up-and-coming acts:
Artists who played the event over its decade-long run included Adele, Oasis, Mumford & Sons, Paul Simon, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Lady Gaga, Arctic Monkeys, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell Williams (pictured), The Weeknd, One Direction and Beck.
The 2016 line-up included Elton John, The 1975, Chance The Rapper and Alicia Keys.
Music Business Worldwide says it expects Apple will concentrate on one-off concerts in the future and that ending the Apple Music Festival does not signal the end of the company’s involvement in live music events. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Apple-sponsored live shows either, but I will miss the Apple Music Festival, especially streaming it to my Apple TV.
Last night Apple launched the premiere of its second original television series, Carpool Karaoke. Like Planet of the Apps before it, Carpool Karaoke will release new episodes every Tuesday for Apple Music subscribers. It can be accessed from the ‘TV & Movies’ section of the Apple Music app’s ‘Browse’ tab. Alternately, you can also find it in Apple’s standalone TV app, which Apple Music has a direct integration with.
The premiere episode of Carpool Karaoke is twenty minutes and features James Corden and Will Smith. The concept for the series comes from the popular segment on “The Late Late Show” where Corden rides around with a celebrity singing songs and exploring the city. Based on previews for the series, Corden will only appear in one other episode of Apple’s spinoff this season, while other episodes will contain a host of other celebrity groupings.
You can see a six-minute clip of the series’ first episode below, followed by an extended preview of the upcoming season.
Apple announced today that its next original TV series, Carpool Karaoke: The Series, will premiere on August 8th and air new episodes every Tuesday from that point on. Like its first show, Planet of the Apps, Carpool Karaoke will be released exclusively for Apple Music subscribers.
A new promo trailer for the series was released today alongside the date announcement. It features short clips from many upcoming episodes, showing off a variety of guest star pairings including:
- James Corden and LeBron James;
- Ariana Grande and Seth MacFarlane;
- Planet of the Apps advisors Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, and will.i.am;
- Shaquille O’Neal and John Cena;
- Alicia Keys and John Legend;
- And several more.
PayPal announced that its payment service is coming to the App Store, Apple Music, iTunes, and iBooks on iOS devices and Macs today, starting in Canada and Mexico with the US and other countries to follow soon. Setting up PayPal works the same as adding a credit card:
Paying with PayPal is simple. Customers with a new or existing Apple ID can select “PayPal” as their payment method from their account settings in the App Store, Apple Music, iTunes [and iBooks] from their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac, or on iTunes from their PC.
After PayPal is enabled, purchases from the selected Apple ID will be made from the customer’s PayPal account.
Adding PayPal should expand the universe of customers making purchases from Apple’s stores by creating an alternative for people who don’t have or don’t want to use a credit card.
Apple Music is rolling out a new automatically-generated playlist called ‘My Chill Mix’ to subscribers. The music streaming service already includes a ‘My Favorites Mix’ and a ‘My New Music Mix,’ which show up every Wednesday and Friday respectively.
‘My Chill Mix,’ which will be added to subscribers’ ‘For You’ tab and updated every Sunday, features slower tempo music based on your Apple Music listening habits. According to Matthew Panzarino at TechCrunch, ‘a small number of test users got the new playlist yesterday evening.’ Other Apple Music subscribers will have to wait a little while longer. Apple told Jim Dalrymple of The Loop that:
…the new mix will not be available to everyone immediately, but it will show up over time.
It’s good to see that Apple is continuing to experiment with computer-generated playlists, one of the strongest selling points of Spotify, which includes an excellent Discovery Mix and a Daily Mix that debuted last fall. In addition to adding playlists like an up-tempo workouts mix and genre-specific mixes, I would like Apple Music to allow me to tweak its algorithm’s variables to create playlists myself, dialing in the exact balance of genres and favorites versus new music that I want to hear at any particular time.
Apple launched the premiere episode of Planet of the Apps last night, at the end of the second full day of WWDC. Planet of the Apps features app creators who compete to receive funding for their apps with the help of the show's celebrity mentors. The first episode runs just under 50 minutes, and is available free of charge for a limited time to all viewers on the show's website. Future installments of the 10-episode series will only be available to Apple Music subscribers, and will release weekly.
Timed to coordinate with the launch, the Apple Music app for iOS has received a new 'TV & Movies' section inside the 'Browse' tab. The section is headlined by Planet of the Apps, but it also features some of Apple's previously released original video content, such as Drake's 'Please Forgive Me' and the '808' documentary. If you tap through to the Planet of the Apps informational page, it contains more info about the show, a listing of all currently available episodes, and also a selection of bonus video content featuring the series' celebrity personalities.
If anyone sets out to locate Apple's new original series, they won't even have to visit the 'TV & Movies' section to find it. Apple is heavily featuring it in the top section of Apple Music's 'Browse' tab with six featured banners. The show is also being featured inside of Apple's TV app (assuming Apple Music has been given user permission to integrate with TV). Additionally, the show's website is linked to from the front page of Apple.com, and a wide array of press stories have been released in the last 24 hours covering the launch.
Clearly, Apple wants the world to know that Planet of the Apps is different from its original video work of the past; the tech company is now officially in the TV content business.
Apple announced that Carpool Karaoke: The Series will debut for Apple Music subscribers on August 8th. According to Apple’s press release, the show, based on James Corden’s popular segment from The Late Late Show with James Corden:
…will welcome a different group of superstars every Tuesday, with new episodes available exclusively to Apple Music subscribers in more than 100 countries. Celebrity pairings include Will Smith and James Corden; Miley, Noah, Billy Ray and the entire Cyrus family; Shakira and Trevor Noah; Game of Thrones stars Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams; Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith; John Legend, Alicia Keys and Taraji P. Henson; LeBron James and James Corden; and many more.
Originally anticipated to be released earlier, Apple pushed the debut of Carpool Karaoke back last month.
Tim Ingham of Music Business Worldwide reports on a wide-ranging interview with Jimmy Iovine about Apple Music. One recurring theme is how wrong Iovine believes it is that artists are encouraged to give their work away for free on services like YouTube and Spotify:
The fact is that ‘free’ in music streaming is so technically good and ubiquitous that it’s stunting the growth of paid streaming.
Two things have to happen: free has to become more difficult or restricted, and the paid services have to get better.
It blew my mind that the day after I walked out on stage [to announce Apple Music at WWDC in 2015], YouTube mobile was licensed.
Iovine also indicates that the Apple Music team has moved away from doing as many album exclusives and is now focusing more heavily on video content:
We tried it. We’ll still do some stuff with the occasional artist. The labels don’t seem to like it and ultimately it’s their content.
But we’re doing exclusive video content now, and putting a lot of money into that.