Apple’s new plan for Apple Music

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Cold hard cash, and a surprising amount of creative input from top Apple executives, are key to Cupertino’s plan for making Apple Music a hit, according to a new behind-the-scenes report about the streaming service.

The money translates predictably into cutting deals for exclusive tracks and funding music videos and documentaries, but the creative input means even Apple CEO Tim Cook is helping produce videos like the one for M.I.A.’s “Borders.”

“Tim weighed in on that one in particular,” said Larry Jackson, who steers Apple Music’s original content strategy. The quote comes in a “>Rolling Stone about the ongoing effort to make Apple Music a winner in the streaming wars.

Cupertino’s strategy seems to be working so far: Launched a little over a year ago, Apple Music has already hit 15 million paid subscribers. Spotify, Apple Music’s main competitor, has amassedonly 30 million paid users despite launching in 2008. (Spotify boasts another 70 million users when you include its advertising-supported tier, a free service that is anathema to Apple Music’s resident industrial rocker Trent Reznor.)

Cook’s perhaps insignificant role in the production of the M.I.A.’s “Borders” video — his input could conceivably have been as minor as saying, “Make sure there are links to iTunes and Apple Music in the YouTube description” — is one of the more unlikely revelations in a story that’s filled with record execs fawning over Cupertino’s apparently magnanimous approach to dealing with talent.

“Apple is sexy,” proclaimed Republic Records chief Monte Lipman, whose acts The Weeknd and Ariana Grande are definitely working inside the gilded Apple wheelhouse. “They are prepared to do things no one has done before. Lately they’ve been very clever in coming to us with what we consider groundbreaking opportunities.”

Exclusive albums, and puff quotes from your business partners, are all well and good. But the biggest thing Cook and his crew can do to make Apple Music a success is to straighten out the streaming service’s confusing user interface. Oh, and put an end to the weird problems that arise from the baffling way that Apple Music works (or doesn’t) with iTunes and users’ music libraries.

Luckily, some of that is getting straightened out with the Apple Music redesign coming in iOS 10this fall.

Source: Rolling Stone