Now that Apple Music is official and launching at the end of the month to replace Beats Music, artists can already start submitting music and signing up to manage their artist page. Apple Music introduces new social features under the “Connect” branding, allowing artists to share content, post updates, and connect with fans in a number of ways like never before. While some thought these features would be limited to big artists from major labels, Apple surprised somewhat and delivered for independent artists by making the feature open to all. Here’s how artists can take advantage…

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1. First you have to submit your music for inclusion on Apple Music. If you aren’t with a label that already has a relationship with Apple and iTunes, that means using an aggregator, like TuneCore, that offers distribution on iTunes and now Apple Music for a fee. This is Apple’s list of approved aggregators by country.

Apple-Music-artist-connect-022. Once you’ve submitted your music, you’ll be able to claim your artist profile for the new Apple Music Connect features here.

Apple-Music-artist-connect-033. After signing in with your Apple ID, you can search for your artist name or band.

Apple-Music-artist-connect-044. Select your role. Apple lets you pick from a ‘band or group member, solo artist, artist manager, or label representative, depending on who will be managing your artist profile.

Apple-Music-artist-connect-055. Now you just have to fill out your contact info and press submit.

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Apple will email you a confirmation that your request has been received and is in review. Once you’ve been approved, you’ll have access to start managing your artist page and uploading content. When someone searches for you in Apple Music, the content you upload will be presented in a “From the Artist” section next to your catalog of music.

Here’s what you’ll be able to do:

You can post a simple message, share your favorite music from our expansive catalog, and upload your own work, including audio, videos, and photos. All users, whether they are members or not, can read your posts and stream content you upload. However, only members will be able to stream the songs, albums, and music videos you share from the Apple Music catalog… You can also attach audio or videos that you upload to your existing albums in Apple Music and comment on other artists’ posts or respond to comments on your own posts.

Limitations on uploads for artist pages include up to 90 minutes of audio, videos up to 8 minutes, or photos in JPEG or PNG file formats. While some artists will post professionally produced content, Apple also notes that you’ll be able to upload videos and photos “spontaneously recorded on an iPhone or iPad” and post immediately right from within the app.

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The significance of these features goes well beyond simply social network-like functionality for Apple Music. Apple is for the first time allowing artists total, on the fly control over how they market themselves through its music services, and the fact that the feature is open to all and not just major labels is a huge win for independent artists that do most of their own marketing anyway. If Apple Music, the new curated radio stations, and the Connect social features are successful with users, this could be the first music streaming service that truly embraces smaller artists. What remains to be seen, however, is how Apple might promote this content uploaded by artists and how they’ll be paying out to artists relative to competitive services. 

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