It’s been a rollercoaster first year for Apple’s streaming service Apple Music which has faced numerous criticisms, industry controversy and remained a defiant success.
Some of the top brass at Apple Music recently spoke to Buzzfeed to share on what they’ve learnt since launching the music streaming service last June and what the future holds. After entering the crowded market of music streaming last year Apple defied expectations and have gone on to earn an incredible 17 million subscribers since the end of June 2015.
Despite Apple Music’s runaway success it didn’t launch without it’s fair share of criticism with many complaining of it’s unattractive and poorly designed user interface as well as a number of serious launch bugs. Apple have spent the past year refining their app to fix issues, most recently introducing a fresh makeover with navigation improvements and a sexier look.
Speaking on their early issues Apple Music’s leader Jimmy Iovine said: “We were too ambitious in the beginning – we probably put too much into it. But we’re getting there now, one foot in front of the other, and the stuff we’re creating I don’t think anyone is gonna see coming.”
Apple Music haven’t entirely escaped controversy yet however, most recently being wrapped up in contention over whether releasing music exclusively on one service is okay or not. Apple have used their extensive wealth to nab exclusive releases from major artists like Frank Ocean, Taylor Swift and Drake. Much of the industry have responded negatively, especially Lucian Grainge the president and CEO of Universal Music who has decided to ban exclusives from their entire label roster.
Responding to criticisms over exclusive releases, Iovine said: “We’re feeling our way around and seeing what works… Every time we do [an exclusive], we learn something new.” Iovine also explained that despite the world’s biggest label banning exclusives, they will continue working with the two other major labels Sony and Warner. He added: “It’s Apple’s show. As long as Apple’s asking me to do what I’m doing, I’m gonna keep doing it.”
Streaming exclusives have been criticised for splitting fans and encouraging piracy, as users don’t feel they should pay for multiple services just to be able to hear all of the music they like. Commenting on their impact on the industry Iovine said: “I don’t think we know yet, I don’t think anyone knows yet. A year from today could look extremely different from what it looks like right now.”
Moving on from exclusives renowned DJ Zane Lowe spoke on his role managing the extremely successful, always online radio station Beats 1. Despite being free for anyone to access, Beats 1 has easily been the most well received element of Apple Music thanks to it’s constant access, top-tier DJs, hosts and artists, as well as being the home for many exclusive artist interviews and song releases.
Ex-BBC Radio DJ, Lowe said: “I think Apple Music is the place that helps artists tell their stories. It’s where artists can come and feel comfortable and that’s not just on Beats 1, it’s through the releasing of their records, it’s through our editorial, through content, all sorts of ways.”