LGBTQ brand Gay Times is the latest Apple Music curator

The latest guest curator on Apple Music is Gay Times, the European LGBTQ media brand. It’s making a series of exclusive playlists for the streaming service, while the companies are also collaborating on a joint advertising campaign in the UK featuring artists including Kim Petras, Girli, Vincint and Alma, which ties in with this month’s […]

Students’ Apple Music web player has attracted nearly 200k users

Apple Music doesn’t (yet) have a web-player version of its service: for now it’s native apps for the various Apple devices, plus PCs and Android. Now four students from the University of Kent in the UK are trying to plug the gap with an open-source web player for Apple Music called Musish. “Since its release only […]

Apple to hold ‘Up Next’ performances at stores in US and Europe

We’ve been reporting regularly on emerging artists given Apple Music’s ‘Up Next’ seal of approval. Now the company is expanding the program with plans for a series of live performances in Apple Stores in the US and Europe. Up Next Live will see Bad Bunny, Daniel Caesar, Khalid, Ashley McBryde, King Princess, Lewis Capaldi and Jessie […]

Analyst claims Apple Music could be worth up to $20bn

“Apple Music could be worth more than half of Spotify if Apple is forced to divest it to comply with antitrust-related actions,” claims a report on financial news site Barrons. Which, we have to say, is an extremely big ‘if’ right up front: thus far, complaints about Apple giving its own music-streaming service an advantage over rivals […]

Are Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube the new record labels?

Spotify is signing direct licensing deals with some artists and testing the ability to allow others to upload directly to its platform. YouTube and Apple Music are creating content and putting marketing budget behind artists. And Apple Music has also acquired Platoon, the British startup which helped a number of emerging artists to develop, including […]

Report predicts Apple will soon retire its iTunes software

Apple is killing iTunes! So said dozens of headlines this weekend, which all lead back to a single sentence in a Bloomberg article claiming that “The company is launching a trio of new apps for the Mac – Music, TV, and Podcasts – to replace iTunes”. It follows up with “Without iTunes, customers can manage their Apple […]

The Night League teams with Apple Music for ‘Sounds of Ibiza 2019’

Apple Music has enlisted its latest brand to be a playlist curator: dance-music company The Night League. It has created a series of playlists that will sit within Apple Music’s ‘Sounds of Ibiza 2019’ hub, including collections based on specific Ibiza club brands like Ushuaïa, Hï Ibiza and ANTS. Guest DJs and residents from the clubs are […]

How music companies are gaming streaming with “playlist stuffing”

Kieron Donoghue – founder of Humble Angel Records and former VP of global playlists strategy and curation at Warner Music – has been blogging about the trend of “playlist stuffing” that he has been spotting on streaming services. As songs qualify as a stream and, therefore, a payment after 30 seconds, he says a key tactic has […]

EU to formally investigate Apple following Spotify’s anti-trust complaint

It is a dispute that has been brewing for a long time and which went public in recent months. Now, according to the FT, the European Union is preparing to formally investigate Spotify-led anti-trust complaints about Apple and its App Store. In brief, Spotify is arguing that Apple is “tilting the playing field to disadvantage competitors” […]

Apple names Pink Sweat$ as its latest ‘Up Next’ artist

Philadelphia-based R&B star Pink Sweat$ is the latest artist to get the Apple ‘Up Next’ treatment, following in the footsteps of the likes of Billie Eilish, Juice WRLD, Bad Bunny and H.E.R. The campaign will include a short film (shot on an iPhone XS for some double-branding sparkle) talking about his background and creative process […]

Fuga joins preferred-distributor lists of Spotify and Apple Music

Spotify and Apple Music have both updated their lists of ‘preferred’ music distributors in recent weeks, with Fuga the prominent new addition to both. The company is now listed alongside The Orchard as a “preferred label distributor” for Spotify, which (in the company’s words) “meet our highest standards for providing quality metadata and protecting against infringement”. Meanwhile, […]

Apple under fire in US for Tiananmen Square song removal in China

When we wrote about songs by certain Hong Kong artists being removed from Chinese music-streaming services last week, we noted that it appeared to be local services as well as Apple Music, despite initial headlines focusing on the latter. However, back in the US it’s Apple’s involvement in this censorship that’s drawing criticism from politicians. “It’s […]

Julian Casablancas discards Spotify and Apple Music utterly, begrudgingly praises YouTube

Julian Casablancas of The Strokes and Cult Records has been speaking to Billboard about his various music projects, his record label and dealing with the creative process. But buried in the middle of the interview he talks about his dislike and distrust of most streaming services – and what their rise means for artists and labels. “In […]

Polyglot marketing: streaming’s many and varied global battle lines

The IFPI’s global sales figures for 2018 were, once again, all about streaming driving the industry’s recovery. The overall market was up 9.7% (both downloads and physical declined sharply), while streaming jumped 34% and now makes up 46.9% of revenues globally. The jostling for dominance in this booming market is something that will continue apace, […]

The Battle of Billie Eilish: Spotify, Apple and YouTube scrap it out

Original content is a big strategic focus for the major streaming services in 2019, as is ‘claiming’ as many rapidly-emerging artists as possible, in terms of creating said original-content for and with them. Billie Eilish, whose debut album ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ is out today, looks set to become one […]

BBC hopes to compete with Apple and Spotify for UK podcast listening

British broadcaster the BBC has just published its ‘annual plan’ for the next year, outlining its strategic priorities. One of them is its BBC Sounds app, which the corporation says has now been downloaded more than 1.8m times in the UK, and attracts a weekly audience of more than one million listeners. “A major part of our […]

Report 422: Playlisting’s next leap forward

Playlists have been referred to as everything from the new album, the new compilation, the new greatest hits, through to the new radio, the new MTV and more. Whether you’re a pop act trying to build a truly global audience or just trying to make a living from making mood music, if you’re not on […]

Report claims Apple Music’s Android app has 40m installs

Apple Music will add 3.8 million new users in the first quarter of 2019… on Android devices. This, at least, is the claim by research firm SensorTower, in its latest report. It also reckons that Apple Music has now been installed 40m times from Android’s Google Play store since its launch in 2015 – and that […]

Apple Music gets ‘Browse’ tweaks and live gigs in Milan

Apple Music’s iOS app appears to be getting a spring-clean ahead of tonight’s big services press-launch from its parent company. 9 to 5 Mac reported that the app’s ‘Browse’ screen has been freshened up. “Previously, the Browse tab was laid out with a single horizontally-scrolling carousel of featured content and then a list of navigation options, […]

Apple Music hails Billie Eilish, throws more shade at Spotify

There’s a really interesting stat in the latest profile of Apple Music’s work with artists: more than 800,000 of its users have already pre-added Billie Eilish’s new album, which comes out next week. Pre-adds being Apple Music’s version of ‘pre-saves’ on other streaming services – and which unlike those rivals, is built in to its […]

Dean Lewis is the next Apple Music ‘Up Next’ artist

Australian singer/songwriter Dean Lewis is the latest artist to get Apple’s ‘Up Next’ seal of approval. The nod comes ahead of the release of his debut album ‘A Place We Knew’, although Lewis’ music has already notched up more than 1bn streams globally, of which 750m-plus were for his track ‘Be Alright’, and another 200m […]

Apple hits back at ‘misleading rhetoric’ of Spotify anti-trust complaint

Spotify filed a complaint with the European Commission over Apple’s stewardship of its App Store earlier this week, but now Apple has hit back with a statement criticising Spotify’s “misleading rhetoric” – including jabs at the streaming service’s recent appeal against new songwriter-royalty rates in the US. “At its core, the App Store is a […]

Apple is giving playlists the album-artwork treatment

We’re ashamed to confess that we haven’t given that much thought to the artwork for the programmed playlists on music-streaming services. That said, we suspect a fair few of those services haven’t really made it a priority either, beyond ensuring the right artist or mood-signalling image is present with the correct corporate branding. So it’s […]

UK broadcaster Fearne Cotton turns curator for Apple Music

We’re not sure how well-known Fearne Cotton is outside the UK: in Music Ally’s homeland she’s become a familiar face and voice through her TV and radio broadcasting. Now she’s become the latest curator on Apple Music. This is a proper partnership: Cotton is maintaining four different playlists on the streaming service, which is promoting […]

Mahershala Ali launches Black History Month Apple Music playlist

Apple Music execs will have been cheering the Oscars ceremony on Sunday. Not because they all love Sophie from Peep Show (well, not just that) but because another winner on the night has just curated a playlist on the music-streaming service. Double Best-Supporting-Actor winner Mahershala Ali is behind the ‘Represent: Mahershala Ali’ playlist on Apple […]

Apple Music makes Tierra Whack its latest ‘Up Next’ artist

Interscope Records’ Tierra Whack is the latest artist to be given the ‘Up Next’ treatment by Apple Music. An interview with her aired on Apple’s Beats 1 radio station yesterday; she’ll perform on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show on 4 March as part of its partnership with Apple Music; and there’s an Up Next film […]

Apple Music lets subscribers give a free month to a friend

Here’s an interesting new tactic for music-streaming marketing: Apple Music is encouraging subscribers to get their mates onto the service too. “Give Apple Music to your friends,” explained a promotion that was push-notified to subscribers, according to news site AppleInsider. “Apple Music is better with friends. So give one of yours a free month.” The deal […]

Apple Music used Shazam for extended-trial Grammys promotion

We’re getting a sense of how music-identification app Shazam, acquired by Apple in September 2018, will be used by the company to promote Apple Music. Last night, anyone tagging a track during the Grammys ceremony unlocked a ‘Grammy Awards experience’ listing the songs performed during the event. There was also a special offer: new subscribers (to Apple […]

Apple Music announces Wi-Fi partnership with American Airlines

In January, United Airlines caused a stir with a promotional banner at one of its events, announcing that Apple was its biggest corporate customer, spending $150m a year with the airline – including $35m on flights to Shanghai in particular. When a photograph of the banner leaked, it was widely reported, sparking a swift statement […]

British DJ Charlie Sloth confirms he’s joining Apple Music

Hip-hop DJ Charlie Sloth left the BBC’s Radio 1 under a cloud last year, having invaded the stage at an industry-awards ceremony when another broadcaster won the category he was nominated in. At the time, Sloth had already announced plans to depart – the controversy meant that happened 10 shows earlier than expected – with […]

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