Historically, the iTunes Store hasn’t been much more than a basic distribution channel. Sure, there have been a few side projects like the iTunes Festival and iTunes Sessions, but the music portion of the iTunes Store is essentially just a distribution channel for songs (albeit the most important one in the world). Along came streaming music services. While they are growing in popularity, they are also essentially just distribution channels for songs.
However, Beats, the subscription music service Apple inherited as part of the 2014 Beats acquisition, is a bit unique in that it relies more heavily on human curation. Consider this in addition to some recent news. Earlier this month, news broke that Zane Lowe is leaving Radio 1 to work at Apple. Today, the website Music Ally found a recruitment ad that shows the iTunes team is looking for an ‘Editorial Producer’. The ad reads, in part:
This full-time position is split between editorial and producing duties. The editorial duties focus on writing, editing, managing a sea of freelancers, and working collaboratively with business and content heads to shape and define editorially driven merchandising promotions.
Add these up and it appears that Apple is adding a lot of human to whatever it’s building. I think that’s a good thing. Music is inherently human.
But this ’human aspect’ is likely only a small component in what Apple is building - something that I think will go way beyond a basic distribution channel for songs.
[Thanks Srikar Dhanakoti for pointing me to the Music Alley article]