What Apple Music says about how Apple views musicians

“Dear Apple, I wanted to love Apple Music, I really did. It had all the potential in the world, and with all the hype surrounding the WWDC keynote, I watched with cautious optimism,” Brandon Shaw writes for Startup Musician. ” Ultimately, though, I was disappointed. ”

“First off, let me tell you what you did well… Right out of the gate, you have a LOT of music ready to go,” Shaw writes. “You’ve set your price at $9.99/mo. Perfect. And you’ve let users have a 3 month free trial to test it out. Great. Is there a fully free tier? No! While this move is surely going to be controversial, I’m with you Apple, I got your back… Unfortunately, this brings a close to the ‘Good’ section.”

“Apple, you need to start treating musicians and artists the way you treat your software developers. You can do this by giving artists and musicians great tools they can use to easily build awesome things with a clear idea of how to make money,” Shaw writes. “Right now, they’re an after thought. Give us some more info, and don’t be afraid to geek out a little with us!”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Read the full article. None of his “bad” or “ugly” or “meh” points are incorrect (some, like the criticism of the “look” of the app are neither correct nor incorrect, merely taste). And none of them will in any way negatively affect Apple Music’s uptake in any fashion.

The article above is from a musician’s point of view. Musicians will get the info Shaw wishes was imparted and then they’ll be falling all over themselves to connect with Apple Music fans. Because Apple Music fans are PAYING fans. There’s an operative word there. Even without the All-CAPS/Bold/Italics, musicians will be among the very first to make note of it.

And, yes, the Iovine/Drake/Reznor portion of the keynote was hellish, unnecessary, and, if we had to guess, something Cook felt he owed to the Iovine/Drake/Reznor contingent as opposed to something that should have been included on stage. Dear Apple keynote producer (if there is one), put your foot down and tell Tim “NO!” for Jobs sake! Give those guys some more RSUs instead and spare us! Good God, that was awful. On the bright side, at least they made Tim look like a dynamic stage presence.

We kid, Tim, we kid. (Not really.)

Forgive us, some days we just miss Steve so much!


    1. Your response to it had to be colored by your frustration with your jittery streaming of the keynote. As a species, our emotional states tend to arrive bundled, and they don’t respond well to rational unpacking.

      1. My stream was crystal clear. I saw the whole debacle clearly. The music portion is exactly as described. It was a mess. Iovine was really freaking weird. Drake was… irrelevant is the nicest thing I can think to say about him. And the largest problem is that it offered ZERO developer opportunity. It had no place in this keynote at a developer conference.

        Their focus on a radio station thoroughly puzzled me. I don’t see the point. DJs are the WORST PART of radio. Why on Earth would anyone want another one? Ping… sorry… Connect was just a retread. I don’t think there are any shortage of ways for musicians to bore or annoy their fans. They aren’t getting anything new from Apple as far as I can tell, other than an extra invoice line for the people they hire to pretend to be them on social media.

        As for the music service itself? Time will tell. I think the $10 fee should have been the family share price too. Or better, include it with iTunes Match. What a confusing combination of services. If I want to actually preload my phone so that listening to music doesn’t consume data, I still need Match, I guess.

        1. Even here in Thailand the stream was, for the first time, flawless. Absolutely perfect. But Iovine and Drake kept hinting at things for the independent musician, but never managed to actually say much of anything concrete.

          It *sounded* like any musician could publish and try to build an audience, but they didn’t say that. Too much hand waving, not enough information. But I’m still hopeful that it’s true.

        2. It’s all about human curation. Human DJs aren’t the most annoying part of radio, just like human DJs aren’t the most annoying part of a club. Annoying local DJs who are plugging things and running silly little contests and bringing up local events are annoying.

          However, DJs who are all about the music are fantastic. Usually they’re on stations that are publically run, like NPR or BBC or CBC. They give insight into the music, curate the experience and offer greater depth.

          Artists, like chefs, are usually horrible at managing business. Apple Music offers them an easy gateway to connect with their fans. Yeah, Ping failed, but the heart behind it was there.

      2. Not at all. It was awful. There are now reviews of that section of the presentation that mirror exactly what I’ve said here. It Was Awful. I can’t imagine how you’d disagree. What exactly would anyone like about that chaotic, amateur, disjointed, did I say chaotic?, presentation. I’m tempted to say this is the sort of presentation only LSD victims could plan, enact and FAIL. Again: Awful. A landmark of awful.

        1. The code name for Apple Music was PingZune.

          Apple has been largely coasting since Steve Jobs stepped back- relying largely on iterations of stuff already OKed and then me too bullshit like the Watch, the Clipboard Ripoff (News), the feature copying from Samsung and Microsoft, etc.

          Remember “the Vision Thing” that blindsided Poppy Bush back in the day? Cook does not seem to have a vision for what he wants Apple to be- no fire in the belly. Steve Jobs knew exactly what he wanted and more importantly what he did not want.

          Cook is a nice guy and knows how to make the trains run on time, but he is letting Apple slowly go adrift. Apple is a big ship now and it takes more than a little while before the new course is seen.

          I fear Apple is becoming Microsoft.

            1. Some of the style has moved towards Microsoft but none of the substance.

              “Fun” game when you have a month to spare: Figure out which of the Windows Control Panels has the most settings by exploring all the sub-dialogs and tabs. Its like a maze of twisty passages all different.

    2. For the first time maybe ever, I was actually bored w/ Apple’s offerings. Besides the iOS9 presentation and few other mentions, it was largely week and predictable. Especially the Apple Music–oh lawdy was that bad. I really hope that we are not jumping the shark here but it sure as heck felt like it.

      1. Well there laddie, I’m typing on El Capitan at the moment and I’m pleased to say that Apple listened to us and made some very nice changes to help raise the saneness level above Yosemite! That’s all I shall say except: There is hope laddie. There is hope out there. 😉

  1. The music presenters were not polished, but being a musician myself, I appreciated their inclusion. Hope to see more of their involvement in the future, and improvement in their polish.

    1. Funny thing about “polished” presentations. Everyone seems to want them. Then, when that is all they get, they look around for bootleg recordings, in search of “authenticity”.

      1. They started to laugh, because it was the way Jobs introduced the iPhone. And they assumed Iovine was playing off of that, but instead it was unintentional and he had no idea why they were laughing.

          1. I’m sure it was scripted, but Iovine turned out to not be in on the joke, thus the confusion at the initial laughter. The bad reaction came when the audience realized he didn’t understand it.

  2. I would think that unsigned musicians being able to put their music up on MUSIC is very respectful of musicians, plus they can connect with social media tools to their fans. Apple can’t let it be a free-for-all with musicians being able to post anything they want a la Twitter/Instagram, because let’s face it, most musicians don’t have good sense enough not to post something stupid.

    1. You might be stereotyping musicians there. Do they inhabit a behavioral or cognitive ghetto, along with artists working in other media, that predispose them to post stupid statements? And if they are less clever than us, why do we listen to them?

  3. Yes!! about missing Steve so much.

    Did anyone notice the reference to Steve at the beginning of the presentation? The Director is lining up all the Wiz Bang effects and such…..only at the end to experience an epiphany……that of a simple Laptop, a bottle of water and a man in jeans.

  4. Like MDN, and so many others, I miss Steve’s influence and charisma on Apple. I don’t intend to be negative of the others, as each is his / her own person, but man Steve loved what he showed us, and the passion may have been under the surface, but we knew this was going to be awesome, and it usually was.

    1. @thewaterman

      I concur wholeheartedly, Dean.

      The love affair, the friendship, the bond I had with Apple and their products evaporated overnight.

      Even people who were not Apple users listened intently to Jobs and each and everyone of us allowed ourselves to be swept up in the spirit of what might come to past.

      We never bought products, we we co-owners in the future of innovative technology, and all the trials and surprising delights that comes along with that. Until one day it was over.

      The excitement… that’s what I miss the most, and now it’s gone forever.

      1. So, here you are again, orandy-I-don’t-care-Apple, posting on an Apple-centric site.

        You care about making disparaging, critical posts about Apple. That, and that alone, is your game here.

  5. The musicians, the current heavyweights of streaming and the usual negative bloggers repeat history. Dismiss Apple’s vision at their own peril. As far as Apple treating musicians well enough, please. Apple has always been better to musicians than anyone else in the industry. Spotify rips off their profits, labels throw them into debt and obscurity, small venues remain small potatoes. This is the chance for anyone with talent to connect with listeners and other talented musicians around the world and not get ripped off in the process.

  6. The artists refused to be scripted, thinking it would be easy to gush right. Then they didn’t. No surprise there on either count.

    The app looks… uncreative. So that’s a bummer. Also Beats1? Seems to presume Beats2, 3, etc.

    I’m sick to death of iTunes Radio, looking forward to three summer months of free music.

    The proof will be in the putting.

  7. While the music presentation doesn’t live up to some unmeetable MDN standard who cannot get over the fact that Steve Job’s is gone, its time to get over it..

    Could it have been better, perhaps, it all depends on one’s perspective.

    I also find it amusing that people probably couldn’t write a single line of code, or make a user interface to save their lives, call the app un-creative.. all this means is they would not be happy no matter how it looked or worked..

    1. Sometimes I wonder if broadcasting one’s unhappiness makes one happier. Kind of like zombies spreading the infection, reducing the population of the hated normals.

  8. We shall see. Apple has been rather pedestrian lately, but they still completely lead the tech industry in as many categories as you’d like to name. All the complaints about Apple’s offerings compare them unfavorably with Utopia. I’ve seen very few (if any) unsponsored comparisons with anyone else’s offerings where Apple doesn’t shine.

  9. 1. People will be hearing music they previously never listened to before. For example, when making a playlist from iTunes I download only one song per artist, and don’t have the time or patience to lookup and listen to the other songs on an artist’s album through YouTube, SoundCloud, etc. Many times the music is not even on those sites. So, I pick one song from the release and then move on to the next artist to complete the playlist. With Apple Music I probably will listen to most of the artist’s/band’s album and might save four or five songs for later listening. My guess is the payouts to artists should match or exceed what they make through iTunes.

    2. Artists have dedicated pages where they can post updates, videos, etc. As a listener I’m too lazy to visit each artist’s website or social media every time I listen to their music. Now, I will know when they go on tour and when their next album will be released. Maybe they even have a link to an online concert. What about merchandise sales like concert T-shirts, posters, etc.? Again, this platform should be more lucrative for bands/artists compared to the current model. It should also be more beneficial for listeners: “Hey Siri, I’m going to be in Chicago in July. What bands in my collection will be playing live?” Siri – “Wilco, Sleater-Kinney, Future Islands, The New Pornographers, Caribou, etc. are playing at the Pitchfork music festival July 17-19” Sleater-Kinney? I haven’t heard any of their music since 1997. So, I ask Siri to take me to their page. – hopefully the new service will have this functionality.

  10. When you are ‘undiscovered’ you want people to see and hear you on YouTube. Once you’ve made it you want money from YouTube and Spotify.
    Musicians need to make money – as before – by filling halls and stadiums to see live shows @ $ 50 – $100 or more per ticket.
    Spotify and YouTube are the new ‘radio station’ for kids. It will be interesting to see how Apple squares the circle.

  11. I also found the Apple Music portion of the keynote lackluster. The new presenters seemed to be vanity appearances mouthing pablum and platitudes. Thoroughly boring.

    I’m disappointed Apple’s dropping the free radio channels. I’ve been using it to replace my SiriusXM background music in my car, saving the $15/month they wanted, so $10 is certainly better. I guess we’ll see if the new service is compelling, else I’ll simply fall back on my owned music.

  12. Funny I thought the Music Section was pretty good. Awkward, but charmingly so. Drake was there to inspire young unsigned musicians about Apple Music and he did this quite effectively.

    The Weeknd at the end yes that was a total yawner.

    The Android app is a big deal if not risky. Artists need to provide one deep link to their music. This was a former advantage of iTunes when the PC ruled. All those iTunes links were dead on Android. Big mistake.

    Connect will be a tough sell.

    Overall though this WWDC was one of the best. The new software and music service are going to be very compelling. So strong that Samsung will have to exit the handset business in 2016

  13. Songs that are played on “Free” streaming accounts still are paid for. It works like radio licensing.
    I pay for streaming service, but even if I didn’t, the artists are still compensated. I get it, they think they deserve more which can be debated.
    Are people who listen to the radio the same cheapskates you are trying to paint streaming users as? I don’t get the point. Pay a subscription fee or not, the song play still generates money for the artist/labels.

    1. No, bob, commercials. People who listen to radio are not “cheapskates”, they are people who just listen to the radio. They pay for the service by listening to commercials. If artist really made money off of radio listeners (from radio stations) they would never need to do concerts,which is about 80% of their earnings.
      A paid service is about losing those commercials. Of course, you do understand that this will cost jobs at these radio stations. Think about it, if only paid services, how do artist really reach the public at large. Yes, I know you didn’t say get rid of radio stations. It’s just that not everybody wants to, has money to, or cares to pay for a music subscription.

  14. Internally, Apple has some 50,000 employees to try out software and hardware on, but probably damn few up and coming musicians trying to get a gig and make a living.

    If Apple wants to create something new musicians want, I suggest Apple will have to establish a real close connection with musicians over a long period to develop what those musicians want and need to project themselves well to new music lovers.

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