Apple Music launches later today, along with Beats 1 and updates to iOS and iTunes. It's a massive undertaking for the company that redefined the music industry with the original iPod in 2001 and iTunes Music Store in 2003. Now positioned to do it again with a streaming service and global radio station, Apple is coming off of two less-than-successful music projects.
The music-focused social network Ping never caught on and was closed in 2012. More recently, iTunes Radio failed to capture an audience like that of music streaming rival Pandora. What's different this time around? Apple's Eddy Cue, Jimmy Iovine and Trent Reznor gave interviews this week that answer that very question.
Speaking with Jim Dalrymple of The Loop, Eddy Cue said, "We certainly pay attention to what competitors are doing, but I’m never losing any sleep on competitors. I don’t have any control over what they do—what I have control over is what we do. We’ve spent all of our time and energy thinking about what it is we want to build.”
And that's exactly what they're doing. When asked how Apple can convince people that Apple Music is the better choice, Cue responded, “Ultimately, you can’t convince them, it’s just got to be better.”
Meanwhile, speaking to Christina Warren at Mashable, Trent Reznor added this:
"When I started thinking about Apple Music, part of the incentive was in terms of access to music. We have access to everything but the burden on the service is to make the experience great." That brings us to Beats 1.
Beats 1, Warren notes, is Reznor's brainchild. Warren writes:
"At the same time, Reznor was flying back and forth to London. Every time he was in London, Reznor says he found himself tuning into Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show. "I listened to Zane's show on the BBC and it made me excited about music," Reznor says.
That got him thinking about creating a live worldwide online radio station. "
I must admit, I'm more excited about Beats 1 than streaming music with Apple Music. When I was a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston, there was a record store on Boylston Street called Looney Tunes records. I loved it.
The store's staff were intensely passionate about music. There was a turntable and a CD player available to the customers. If you wanted to listen to something before you bought it, you could. As you did, a salesperson would talk about other stuff you might like, based on what you were listening to. He'd go get it so you could hear that, too. Before you realized it you had spent 40 minutes listening to music, discovering new artists and learning something from a person who loved sharing his knowledge of recording artists with anyone and everyone.
That's what I hope Beats 1 will be. I want Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden, and Julie Adenuga to be the ones saying, "If you like that, you have got to hear this."
We'll know later today, and I'm excited. Good luck, everyone. I'm ready to hear some music.