That was then and this is now and Apple is turning over a new leaf. It’s not iTV, it’s Apple TV. It’s not iPay, it’s Apple Pay. It’s not iTunes (though for now iTunes remains), it’s Apple Music, the first substantial and somewhat confusing music platform born from the $3-billion Beats Music acquisition. What is Apple Music?
Iovine’s Kitchen Sink
If you’re an Apple watcher who expected Apple simply to rebrand Beats Music with an Apple logo, you were disappointed. Or, gratified, depending upon what you think Apple Music truly is.
Whatever it is, and it’s tough to nail down a specific and obvious value proposition, Apple Music definitely is not Beats Music. Apple’s executives tacked on Apple Music to the end of the keynote is a Jobsian ‘One more thing…’ moment which met plenty of applause.
Most of that excitement died during the next 45 minutes as Apple waded through Music. Is it an app? Is it a subscription service? Is it a platform? Is it a mashup of Facebook and SoundCloud and Spotify? I view Music as kinda sorta mostly a little of everything and more.
Apple Music is Jimmy Iovine’s desperate attempt to save the music industry by turning as kitchen sink into a musically dominated entertainment smorgasbord. Music isn’t free streaming music, ala Spotify. It’s a subscription service with a monthly price tag ($9.99; $14.99 for a six member family). Apple Music will be on Android and Windows, too.
Within the Music platform is Beats One Radio, a curated station with live broadcasts from New York, London, and Los Angeles. Think Siris/XM but streaming. There’s a Connect service component which allows artists to post music, videos, photos, lyrics, and Facebook-like content. Any artist, even independents and unsigned artists, can post content on Connect.
Built into Apple Music is another mashup of curated music from various and sundry megastars, including Pharrell and Drake (who showed up at the end of the keynote, decked out in a drool-worthy Apple jacket; he proceeded to demonstrate why laugh tracks are important to comedy shows).
Apple Music appears to be the new music arm of iTunes, though the iTunes app is not going away. It remains to be seen whether Apple Music can gain the traction it needs to stop declining music sales, but the three month upfront free trial is a good start. It needs to be experienced without a penalty.