Apple CEO is worried about “draining the humanity out of music”

One of the reasons vinyl continues to do well is because it provides us with physical content with the vessel that actually holds the music.

Streaming is awesomely convenient, but it often reduces music something that goes in one ear and out the other. It’s provided with no context, no explanation. And because streaming is can be enjoyed for free, there’s no monetary investment (and hence less of a personal stake) in a song, an album, or an artist.

And because there’s an endless supply music, it’s easy to get obsessed with the skip. “This is okay, but what’s next? What else is out there? What am I missing?” The already-tenuous connections we make with individual tracks (and albums and artists) are weaker and shorter-lived.

This brings me to some comments by Apple CEO Tim Cook in Fast Company.

FC: Music has always been part of the Apple brand. Apple Music has had a lot of user growth, but streaming is not a major money­maker. Do you think about streaming as a potential stand-alone profit area, or is it important for other reasons?

TC: Music is interesting because it inspires people. It motivates people. There is a deep emotional connection. Apple was serving musicians with a Macintosh back in ’84–’85. So it’s something that’s deep in our DNA.

Music is a service that we think our users want us to provide. It’s a service that we worry about the humanity being drained out of. We worry about it becoming a bits-and-bytes kind of world, instead of the art and craft.

You’re right, we’re not in it for the money. I think it’s important for artists. If we’re going to continue to have a great creative community, [artists] have to be funded.

I look at my own life, and I couldn’t make it through a workout without music. I don’t go to the gym for the fun of it. You need something to push you, to motivate you, and for me, that’s music. It’s also the thing at night that helps quiet me. I think it’s better than any medicine.

It’s a good read. Go here.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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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