As physical music sales continue to fall and digital sales (albums and singles) lose ground to streaming, Apple has to do something. At one time, iTunes had 70% of the worldwide digital sales market. They may still have that kind of dominance, but it’s 70% of a market that’s a fraction of the size it used to be.
Streaming is the way forward. So what does Apple have planned? Complex takes a look.
Fifteen years ago, Apple changed the music industry. Everyone remembers the launch of the iPod and the iTunes store and its earth-shattering wake: the MP3 revolution, thousands of songs in your pocket, the decimation of the music industry as we knew it. Now, with the rise of streaming, the industry is standing at the precipice of another sea change. Once again, Apple is telling the world that it’s going to transform how you listen to music.
Eighteen months after its debut, Apple Music is clearly more than just a streaming service. Any assumptions that Apple was taking on Spotify, Tidal, and their ilk, by simply making a splashy clone and putting it on every iPhone on Earth have been dispelled. Instead, Apple Music is trying to do, well, everything. Under the guidance of its head of content, Larry Jackson, 35, it’s signing the biggest names in music—including Drake, Frank Ocean, and Taylor Swift—to exclusive deals, and flying right in the face of the old-world labels to do so. Apple has established its own radio station, Beats 1, and poached Zane Lowe, 43, from BBC Radio 1 to serve as its leading personality. And it has Bozoma Saint John, 39, who ran music and entertainment marketing at Pepsi and reportedly brokered Beyoncé’s 2013 Super Bowl performance, to explain what Apple Music is for the masses who have never shelled out for a streaming subscription.