Apple: The intersection of Technology & Liberal Arts Doesn’t Include Elevator Music

Apple is known for tackling the grandest of human challenges: best-of-class computational tools, responsible manufacturing, equal rights and respect for all, disaster relief, powerful story telling, privacy, security, and great planetary stewardship.

Elevator music isn’t a worthy endeavor.

Recently, our Andrew Orr reported: “Apple Music for Business Could Come to a Store Near You.

Apple is partnering with PlayNetwork Inc., which specializes in providing music for commercial use. Apple is the one that will create and suggest playlists to use for businesses. A lot of music licensed for commercial use is more expensive so businesses can potentially save money by switching to Apple Music.

Even if the rollout of iOS 13 and macOS Catalina were flawless, this news would have left a bad taste in my mouth. But, indeed, Apple is up to its ears in difficulties with these OSes.

Now, I’m not saying that Apple should defer all other initiatives until iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS and macOS are all perfect. But I am saying that Apple’s headlong rush into a trivial business music service reflect poorly on Apple’s allocation of talent, resources, focus and pride in workmanship in its core business.

Steve Jobs wanted Apple to work at the intersection of the liberal arts and technology. That vision, among other things, informs Apple about whether a new project lifts the company up and inspires customers. Lots of projects can make money, but is a proposed project worthy of Apple? If not, the executive team usually says “no!”

Is Tim Cook too tied up with China, tariffs, presidential politics and public appearances to veto such nonsense? Is Apple obsessed with capturing every possible nickel and dime of service revenue? Can we expect Apple to launch a new line of therapeutic massage and beauty products next?

This business music initiative has all the earmarks of an executive mandate for a revenue goal. Somewhere in Apple, some poor Director is sweating his/her performance evaluation and is being forced into cooking up schemes that look like new service revenue possibilities. No matter how mundane.

This is not the Apple we have long admired.

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W. Abdullah Brooks, MD


How can you argue that ‘elevator music’ is not important? Without it, how else are we to deal with life’s ‘ups and downs’?

Very pointed analysis. Concur.

Lee Dronick

There is more to business music than “elevator musak”. Many of the shops staffed by tattooed and pierced 20 somethings are playing something other than that pablum


” Is Apple obsessed with capturing every possible nickel and dime of service revenue?”

I hate to say it but looking from the outside-in, this is exactly what it seems that Tim Cook is obsessed with. I’m not convinced he understand product craftsmanship.