Apple Music has “well over” 30 million paid subscribers, according to apple executive Jimmy Iovine, maintaining the consistent growth the service has enjoyed since its launch two years ago. In an interview with Billboard, Mr. Iovine also said that even though Apple Music and music streaming are growing, it “isn’t in the right place” yet.
“I just don’t think streaming is enough as it is,” he said. “I don’t agree that all things are going to be OK [just] because Apple came into streaming and the numbers went up. Look at the catalog: It’s a matter of time before the ’60s become the ’50s and the ’50s become the ’40s. The people that are listening to the ’60s will die — I’m one of them. Life goes on. So you have to help the artists create new stuff that they would never be able to do on their own.”
In the piece, he, Beats 1 head Zane Lowe, and Apple Music content director Larry Jackson make the case that the challenge is for Apple to make a platform where musicians and artists can create content around their content. Behind the scenes stuff, interviews, stories, and more are the way for artists to turn fans into super fans.
To that end, Mr. Iovine said Apple Music is working to be, “an environment where they can do creative content. We’re experimenting. This is a new business. We’ve loaded as many creative people as we can into one place. What will happen, in my experience, is something really cool.”
A Stream Is Not a Stream
Apple is also wanting to change the way Billboard—the magazine that published the interview—counts streams. Currently, Billboard counts free streams from services like youTube the same as a paid stream from Apple Music (Spotify, and other paid services).
Apple wants that changed because it would benefit Apple (and the other paid services). The company’s rational is that the current ranking system incentivizes artists gunning for #1 to promote those free streams—where they don’t make any money.
Changing the system to weight paid streams more heavily than free streams could shift the dynamics of the industry in favor of services like Apple Music.
Though Billboard itself was discussing this, there’s no indication as to whether the magazine is considering the change.
There’s more in the full article, which is a very good read.