Cue Fanfare: Apple Music


Astute readers of The Gen will have already noticed that plucky technology upstart Apple launched its new streaming service yesterday. Read on for The Gen’s initial impressions.

More Lowe key than low key, in addition to a potentially Spotify slaying streaming platform, Apple also launched their global radio station ‘Beats 1’, with former Radio One presenter Zane Lowe kicking things off with typically unbridled enthusiasm for every piece of music ever created. Though to be fair to Lowe he started his show by playing relatively unknown and unsigned UK band Spring Kings and 17 of the 41 tracks played in the first few hours came from independent labels, as reported here.

Upon announcement, Beats 1 was billed as a “24 hour” global radio station and will broadcast from London, New York and LA- though The Gen was under the impression that radio has always inherently been a ’24 hour’ medium.

Elsewhere, the emphasis is on curation and a service with playlists and recommendations built around a little of what Bruce Springsteen referred to as the human touch.

Like all technology platforms, Apple Music wants to get to know you so that it can make better informed recommendations than its competitors, in this case Spotify’s somewhat haphazard ‘related artists’ tab. Artist hub ‘Connect’ will enable artists to share additional content with fans, though it is not yet clear how this will work in terms of additional royalty payments to rights holders.

If you are already an iOS user, then the service nicely integrates your existing iTunes library, meaning that it is the closest yet to providing a complete service– Though it has to be said that the approach is to take the component parts of other services and refine them into a sleek package rather than starting a streaming revolution. This is what Apple has always done- they don’t really invent wheels but they make them turn more gracefully than any other company can.

As with all things Apple, the new app feels seamless, integrated and effortless, though figuring out how to cancel your monthly subscription following the free trial is reportedly far from it.

With the high profile exception of Prince, more or less every major artist seems to be on-board. So of course we already knew that Taylor Swift’s 1989 was going to be on there but The Gen is impressed with the range of other artists on the service who aren’t currently on Spotify, from the well established (Peter Gabriel, Radioheads’s ‘In Rainbows’ album) to the fairly niche (Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy).

There is a handy and comprehensive round up of various verdicts from the music and technology world over here at Music Business Worldwide.

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