The consensus is that the Apple Music unveiling bombed yesterday, and so will the service itself. The incoherence of it all was disappointing coming from Apple, but is pretty on par for the recorded music industry.
I’ve spent a good number of my years working with the music industry on the technology side of things. It’s mostly run by a bunch of good ol’ boys exactly like Jimmy Iovine, who desperately want the days of selling plastic circles to come back.
After the file sharing disruption of the early 2000s, most of them are desperate to pounce on the next magic piece of technology that might keep them relevant, and they are equally as quick to bail if there is no immediate payoff. Reputation is everything in the business (as demonstrated by the insufferably prolific name dropping).
I think Apple made a mistake hiring one of these good ol’ boys, and an even bigger one in allowing him to be the face of the music part the company. The real driver for change in music in the 21st century can be summed up as, “fuck the man.” Putting “the man” in charge is backwards.
CD burning and file sharing displaced album sales because albums were expensive (Fuck the man). Apple saw a way to capitalize on the death of physical media and simplify the user experience of illegal file sharing. In doing so, they needed to coax the man into standardized pricing and eventually no DRM (Fuck the man).
When I grew up, record labels had already payed off the radio industry. Radio has always represented the worst of corporate music for me (Fuck the man). Putting a radio station inside your music player isn’t fucking the man.
I can see the appeal to those who grew up with good radio. Radio, when DJs were music lovers and chose the music they played. I’m old enough to remember local record stores and benefited greatly from the recommendations I got from the people who owned and ran them. I can see the appeal of that, however those were simpler times—Before people made themselves famous by their merits directly to the public on YouTube and MySpace before that; before dubstep, black midi, and witchhouse.
What we know as music today, is so much more diverse than it was before the internet. And the more it expands, the less it likes to be controlled. Couple that with the fact that most people stop listening to new music in their 30s, and you can see how difficult an all encompassing music service is to achieve. Introducing a new music service with the poster boy for sleazy record executives really turns me off—more so than hearing the word radio.
I’m not optimistic about this new service. And as an artist, I’m a little bit bummed that I have another stupid channel to babysit.