Apple Music front man Jimmy Iovine all but confirmed last week’s report that Apple is on the hunt for original scripted TV shows for the subscription service. He said Apple is looking for ways to set the streaming music service apart from Spotify, and that Apple Music is going to be a big part of the pop culture experience.
“At Apple Music, what we’re trying to create is an entire cultural, pop cultural experience, and that happens to include audio and video,” Mr. Iovine said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Last week industry sources said Apple was actively looking for high quality scripted original shows for Apple Music—show that are on par with the original series from Netflix and Amazon. The company’s plan is to start airing shows by the end of 2017.
Adding original shows is a way to make Apple Music stand out against Spotify and gain more marketshare. “We’re fighting ‘free,'” Mr. Iovine said. “So a simple utility where, ‘here’s all the songs, here’s all the music, give me $10 and we’re cool,’ is not going to scale.”
He was referring to the free tiers Spotify and Pandora offer, which make up a substantial part of their subscription bases. In contrast, Apple Music costs $9.99 a month, and offers a three month free trial.
Talk About Pop Music
For Apple, adding TV shows is about more than slicing out a bigger piece of the streaming music pie. Apple wants to be in the middle of pop culture, and that means more than the latest songs and albums. He said,
If South Park walks into my office, I am not going to say you’re not musicians, you know? We’re going to do whatever hits popular culture smack on the nose. We’re going to try.
Apple is already working on that with its music industry documentaries and streaming concerts, along with planned shows like the Dr. Dre-based miniseries Vital Signs, the upcoming Planet of the Apps reality show, and the Late Late Show spinoff Carpool Karaoke. Now that’s going to include top-notch shows in the coming months.
It looks like Apple is finding a way to compete more with Spotify than Netflix and Amazon. It also looks like Apple wants to carve out a new place that’s unique, much like MTV did in the 1980s. MTV was the pop culture nexus back then, and that’s where Apple wants to be now.
That’s not a direct assault on Netflix and Amazon—at least not yet. It is, however, a direct attack on Spotify. Next up: Convince Dire Straights to remake Money for Nothing for the Apple TV generation.