A musician’s experience with Apple Music Connect

Dave Wiskus is a self professed content creator and musician. You might know him as part of the team that built Vesper (a notes/ideas/to do collecting app) or as the vocalist and guitarist for an emerging band called Airplane Mode.

Creating music is hard. Promoting that music is even harder. Writing for his blog, Better Elevation, Dave lays out the difficulties in being an independent artist and his hopes for Connect, Apple’s second cut (remember Ping?) at a social network for artists and fans.

As Dave explains, the interface is rough, the Mac side feels like an afterthought, and the social side feels broken. All that said:

These are early days, and there’s hope. I don’t like complain-y posts where designers pick something apart and either offer no meaningful ideas or, worse, presumptuously redesign someone else’s work. So instead I’m going to break the fourth wall and make a simple suggestion to Apple: consult with independent musicians. Talk to bands who have succeeded on social media and see what worked for them. Talk to bands who have made great YouTube videos and find out how they get their audience to share stuff. Talk to bands who haven’t made it yet and ask what tools they might need to get there.

Or, maybe talk to a rock band from New York that happens to be made entirely out of iOS designers. We’d love to help.

And that’s exactly what happened. Dave’s post appeared yesterday, and by last night, he added this update:

I got an email from Trent Reznor this afternoon. Apple is aware of the growing pains and is working to address them.

I’d like to add in this suggestion. I’ve been working with an iOS developer named Matt Abras who makes a social music app called SoundShare. Matt is from Brazil, and SoundShare has a phenomenal following there. SoundShare gets social right. You can follow a musician, see what they are listening to, follow your friends, see what they are into. You can listen along with musicians you love, or with your friends.

To Trent, I’d say: Follow every move Dave Wiskus makes, learn from his pain, figure out what works for him. At the same time, download a copy of SoundShare, talk to Matt, get his take on social.

The potential for Connect is huge. But only if you get it right.

  • Totally agreed

  • John

    Even from a consumer’s point of view I find the new interfaces far less intuitive. For example my playlists were playing the same song over and over again. I eventually found how to fix it which meant magically clicking on the individual song and then changing it for the playlist.

    It all feels more focused on selling than usability and features are hidden away. I’m find myself swiping and taping on things hoping a hidden control will appear. It’s pretty, but it’s not very functional.

    • rogifan

      In some ways I feel bad for Apple’s UI designers because they had to cram a ton of stuff into this app. On iOS it’s a music player, subscription music service, radio stations and a social platform. On the PC you also tag on device management and iTunes. And keeping all of this in one app surely has to be a decision signed off on at the highest levels at Apple (i.e. Eddy Cue) so the software guys have no choice but to try and integrate all of this.

      • Moeskido

        It’s kind of sad that, even after offloading books to iBooks, it’s still crammed.

  • Moe Better 11

    Someday Apple will get social. This should be a good step in the right direction. The biggest impact of Beats may well be “social”. Apple seems to have the right people in place for this to really happen…

  • Claude Hénault

    Connect needs GPS-based local music circles. New musicians need more than a digital launch platform, they need help in pulling together local live audiences. Maybe add that thought to other social improvements needed.

    • That is a good idea. I can see a quick way for an artist to post, “Hey, I’m playing in this spot in the city! Come and see me!” and everyone can see where it is, pop it easily over to their map, and follow the directions to the spot. Yes, it’s possible to do that now, but for an artist to be able to do it with one button on their Connect page, and the fans to use one button to get directions to it…that would be a great use scenario!

      Apparently Trent Reznor is listening, so you (we) can probably use Apple’s feedback page to suggest it.

  • rogifan

    How exactly is the potential for connect huge? What does it offer that Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Soundcloud/Tumbler don’t? Do we really need another social platform?

    • Every one of those has people coming and going all the time. Those people are potential users of a new social platform. So, yes, there is a room for another social platform, especially if Apple can provide useful tools within a very focused market: music artists.