Apple and Music Streaming: What’s Coming Up?

Apple is gearing up to bolster iTunes with some kind of music streaming offering. Whatever they have planned, everyone seems to have an opinion about it.

1.  “A Disruptive Monster”

That’s the description given by two senior BBC executives.  From MusicWeek:

Speaking at the Worldwide Radio Summit in Los Angeles on April 24, Ben Cooper, the controller of BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, and the stations’s head of Music George Ergatoudis warned an audience consisting mostly of US radio professionals that radio faces the risk of irrelevance if it does not deal with these two issues.

“Radio is dead!” It was with this provocative statement that Cooper started his keynote presentation at the Worldwide Radio Summit 2015. What is dead, he added, is the old model of radio, where a DJ is a studio spoke in a microphone and then the signal was beamed across to radio sets via transmitters and eventually reaching an audience. Whoever thinks they can continue to do radio that way has little future, warned cooper.

The key to the future of radio is, according to Cooper, the smartphone, or rather how to engage with the owners of mobile devices. “We are in love with the smartphone, we are obscessed with our mobile phones” he said, adding that 80% of Brits aged 15+ had smartphones. “The time that you would normally spend with your radio station, you now spend it with your smartphone,” said Cooper.

You can read the whole article here.

2. Apple Should Get Out of the Music Business

Whoa. What? This cames from Venture Beat.

If you want to know how well the iTunes Store is doing these days, all you have to do is listen to what Apple executives said about it in the second-quarter earnings call yesterday:

Nothing.

Of course, the quarter brought another round of blockbuster sales for the iPhone, so, really, who cares if marginal businesses like the iPad, the iTunes Store, or the amorphous “other” are in decline? At the end of the day, these are barely material compared to the iPhone juggernaut.

Still, Apple seems deeply concerned that its media business based on digital downloads is on the wrong side of consumer trends that favor streaming. In particular, Apple has embarked on a frenzy of activity that indicates big plans to reinvent its role in digital music, a market where it risks going from pioneer to roadkill.

But why bother? At this point in history, why does the music business matter to Apple’s business?

The answer is that it doesn’t. Apple doesn’t need to be in this game any more.

Continue reading here.

3. Finally, Bono is still apologizing for U2’s Apple stunt.

From The Daily Beast:

U2 frontman Bono blamed the backlash over Apple imposing his band’s album Songs of Innocence on iTunes users as misdirected anger over privacy rights. U2 and Apple came under fire when 500 million people found the album automatically downloaded to their iTunes library, prompting Bono to issue an apology and Apple to direct people how to delete it.

“I think Apple and we got a lot of the backlash that was headed to Big Tech for knowing too much about us. But in fact, Apple is not interested in every search you ever made—it’s only interested in your music, so it’s not fair to tar them with that brush. And as a person who’s been a lifelong member of Amnesty International, of all human-rights crimes I think that this kind of unwanted mail, if it’s at the top of your list or even halfway up it, your life is really fantastic.”

Go here for more.

 

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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