What did Apple’s Special Keynote reveal about Apple Music?

Approximately 10 hours ago, Apple had its back-to-school keynote, perhaps the most important new-product-announcement event in the industrial world.

Before announcing the company’s latest goodies, among which is of course the obligatory new iPhone, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook took a few moments to speak about Apple Music and briefly mentioned that it now has 17 million paid subscribers, that – up to now – 70 albums were chosen to be exclusively pre-released on the platform, and that the upcoming iOS 10 will present a new redesigned user interface for the second most popular music-streaming service on the planet.

A little while after the announcement, Apple updated its website to reflect the changes in the upcoming new Apple Music and these are what we’ll be discussing on this post.

First and foremost, for the apple.com visitors, there’s a new, easy to overlook, section that’s titled “Working with Apple Music”. Personally, I find this new little addition to be the most important one to the website because it may be the first indication that Apple’s music-streaming service will start being more accessible for independent music labels. And I believe this to be important because, in my opinion, all throughout pop music’s history the most exciting genres were born from the “indies” (Soul, Hip Hop, House, Techno, Brit Pop – to name but a few). “Working with Apple Music” is not only an extensive guide to music marketers on how to better prepare their releases’ creative so as to be better implemented on Apple’s service but also an invitation to website owners to participate in a much-promising affiliation program. That may seem like a small thing to some, but it’s priceless to people working in smaller music labels and especially one-man-show label-owners or independent artists that do their marketing themselves.

The next important change is, of course, the new redesigned user interface which sets out to achieve, basically, two goals. The first is to bring forward the hidden but powerful features of the platform. Apple Music is now organized putting equal weight and giving more prominence to all its features namely “Library” (the feature previously known as “My Music”), “For You” (Apple experts’ recommendations based on the listener’s declared tastes), “Browse” (the feature previously known as “New”), “Radio”, “Search” (newly redesigned but not much changed), “Now Playing” (a way for the user to easily revert back to the song/album page that is actively being played back), and “Lyrics” (this feature is erroneously reported as new – it previously existed in a song’s info tab but it was left without data fed to it).

The second goal that Apple’s designers want to achieve with their new version is for their platform to be a better competitor to none other than Spotify and their trojan horse for that is “Playlists”. Now, the user will have three new ways through which new music will be suggested to them: Playlists created by Apple Music curators, Playlists formed by the software’s algorithms (based on the user’s most frequent selections), and Playlists designed to become soundtracks to the listener’s everyday routine (may that be exercising, cooking, reading etc.).

With these changes, and the Apple Music team declaring via the company’s CEO that exclusive pre-releases will continue to be the business unit’s priority, Apple is clearly targeting Spotify and its place as the dominant music-streaming service. Will they succeed in their endeavor? Share your thoughts…

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