Apple Music was released today and it’s got the whole world talking and thinking about the future of music. The intro video boasts, “Music has such power in our lives. The way we listen to and experience music is undergoing a profound change.” Apple, a leader in innovation and technology change is sure to be the leader of this. But are they helping artists?
With the shift to streaming music apps including Spotify, Rdio, Pandora, and Amazon...Apple is finally stepping up their game in music streaming. If I could describe Apple Music in one sentence it would go something like this: Apple Music is a music streaming app that hyper-attentivily curates playlists to your taste, helps you connect with new music, and also streams radio. For those that invested a lot in iTunes, the sync feature is a win-win for the new streaming app. The dream product for the music consumer right?
But what about the artists? The debate now rests with them. After the T-Swift debate, it seems that Apple might be trying to meet them where they are at. But there are pros and cons to everything.
It seems more social than ever. With their new Connect feature artists have the ability to connect with fans, reaching an audience they never had before.
Apple has the ability to draw people in.
“Apple has the clout and the brand loyalty to end up with a lot of subscribers if its service is good,” says Portia Sabin, the president of Kill Rock Stars and boardmember of the American Association of Independent Music. “If that happens I certainly think streaming revenue from that service could end up being significant.”
Many Indie labels are still avoiding to sign Apple Music’s contract for several reasons:
Initially when Apple released their streaming service, they did not offer to pay artists for the three-month trial period. This meant free music...until a big artist spoke up. Taylor Swift captured their attention, and they made sure to quickly change the contract.
Thought Apple has promised to pay for the three-month trial period now, there is no guarantee they will pay in the future. And with Apple being one of the largest tech companies in the world, do they need to? Do they even value the indies?
"Artists want to believe that whatever the new platform is will have meaningful impact,” says Casey Rae, the CEO of the Future of Music Coalition, "but I don’t know how much Apple cares about that.”
Though Apple seems like they are invested in music, from basement music makers to even top artists like Taylor Swift, do their values really relying in helping artists make a career? It seems that time will only tell.