Billboard interview with Apple Music team, and two things I really want from Apple Music

From the preamble from Billboard’s interview with Jimmy Iovine, Larry Jackson, and Zane Lowe:

Apple Music tells Billboard that it now counts well over 30 million ­paying ­subscribers, helping fuel a 17 percent revenue jump for the U.S. recorded-music business in the first half of 2017 over the same period a year ago, according to the RIAA. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs issued a report in August predicting that ­subscription streaming would drive the global record business to nearly triple to $41 billion by 2030.


[Iovine] is working to crack what he sees as the music industry’s biggest challenge: how to inject enough “soul” into subscription streaming services so that fans will pay $10 a month instead of listening to their tunes on free services, which are also growing fast.

To do it, he’s relying on BBC Radio 1 ­veteran Zane Lowe, now creative ­director and L.A. anchor for Apple Music’s free radio service Beats 1, and Apple Music head of content Larry Jackson, a former A&R ­executive at Interscope and other labels. All three are focused on creating ­exclusive content, from films and ads to radio shows and glossy magazines, to help artists tell the stories behind their music in an age of shrinking attention spans and fast-changing playlists.

To me, the biggest issue with Apple Music is the depth of the user experience. For example, with For You, the on-boarding is primitive, at best. I never felt steered towards my deepest musical tastes. And as I listened to music, even as I diligently favorited my best loved tunes, I never felt that For You really got me.

And there’s no real way to get under the hood, to see what Apple thinks I really love. No way to tap, drag, select, to tune my For You model to really get those recommendations in line with my personal tastes.

Don’t get me wrong. I really do love Apple Music. I use it every day and appreciate being able to call up most any song I can think of on a moment’s notice. But Jimmy is right on. There’s so much Apple can do here to make Apple Music superior to any other service.

Two things I want?

  • A music recommendation engine that is easy to use, that I can tune, and that really gets me.
  • Better sharing, with better linkage to social networks so the sharing can ride on the social links I’ve already built. Why reinvent my graph of friends when I’ve already done that work?