In a new interview with Wired, Apple Music’s Zane Lowe and Oliver Schusser dive into how the service will evolve and where it’s headed over the next year with more livestreams, behind the scenes content, and radio, but not as we currently know it.
The last official report from Apple put paying Apple Music subscribers at 60 million. While Beats 1 radio has grown in many ways in the four years since it started back in 2015, Zane Lowe’s goal its to raise awareness and discovery.
“I want more people to listen and discover this stuff,” says Lowe. “And I want to integrate what we do at Beats 1 into Apple Music more thoroughly. I would guess there are still subscribers who don’t realise Elton John has done over 200 shows. Those shows are works of art in their own right.”
Part of that work has been underway over the last few months with new branding for Apple Music playlists like the new ‘Rap Life‘ and ‘ALT CTRL.’
Further evolution of Apple Music and Beats 1 will include new radio hosts, in-depth pre- and post-album documentary coverage, and more.
The idea is also to amplify what Apple thinks no-one is doing with Lowe promising “some big new names” for Beats 1 hosts, alongside lead DJs Julie Adenuga and Ebro Darden, in the next few months. What’s interesting is that Beats 1 is now documenting the creative process in real time, with Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig discussing the album Father of the Bride pre- and post-launch on his twice monthly Time Crisis show.
Another interesting tidbit from the interview, Apple Music head Oliver Schusser said that the iTunes Music Festival wasn’t retired, but rather “paused.”
Meanwhile, Apple has put on gigs for emerging musicians in stores throughout 2019, and Schusser says the company wants to do more live events in the next 12 months. While there are no official plans for a relaunch, he says, “We never retired the iTunes Festival. We paused it.”
Another part of the future of Apple Music will be more livestreams.
There’s also the matter of how livestreams fit into the picture. After events with Shawn Mendes, French rap group PNL and Tyler the Creator, who did a live performance of his album IGOR, streamed on Apple Music the night before it came out, Lowe says “live music is definitely on the horizon” for the service. It’s all part of the team’s bid to “eventise” – his word – album launches. In the case of Tyler the Creator, “fans can tune in, then after watching it maybe you go to the album.”
And Apple has been able to pull some helpful data from users who “pre-add” albums to their accounts before they’re released.
It turns out users are four times more likely to complete an album if they’d pre-added it to their collection, 1.5 times more likely to listen to it again and they listen to music four times longer than other Apple Music subscribers.
Check out the full interview from Wired here.