Now at 20 million paid subscribers, what’s next for Apple Music and Beats 1? While major updates for the service might not be expected until iOS 11 with a likely unveiling at Apple’s WWDC event in June, Apple has a few things planned before that and we have some hints about what to expect in the future.
Apple’s first original content starting with TV shows will launch on Apple Music next month, an expansion for Beats 1 is in the works, and tweaks to the Apple Music app to better highlight video content are incoming. Head below for our look at what’s next for Apple Music and Beats 1:
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Apple has already given us a taste of what’s to come for Apple Music with a sneak peek at original content it has planned for the service. It has yet to make the deals it needs to launch a video streaming service, and that means for now its original content strategy is focusing on Apple Music. It will all start next month when its first original content debuts for Apple Music subscribers.
Apple already announced and released trailers for its first two original TV show series, Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps, and they give us some clues at what’s coming…
During an interview last month unveiling details about the new Planet of the Apps show, the producer talked about plans for a standalone app of sorts for the show that would allow for interactive content for fans to go beyond the weekly linear episodes (in the video below).
“what it’s also going to be is an app…how do you take all of this incredible content and this deep educational immersive experience we have within the show and go into different elements of it for longer and have parts of the show be controlled by the consumer watching it not just in its linear representation.”
Apple’s Eddy Cue added to that comment, hinting that “there’s a lot of things that we shoot that don’t end up on air in a linear format, and if you want to go deeper on developer… particular thing that’s happening, we can do that.”
That means that Apple Music’s original content could also live in apps outside of Apple Music, and possibly have features beyond just watching the show whether in the Apple Music app or elsewhere. Full details were clearly being kept for an official launch, but it sounds like Apple has more up its sleeve than just delivering a weekly episode in video format.
As for the direction of Apple’s original content itself, it’s a bit unclear with these first two shows. The tie-in with Apple Music for Carpool Karaoke is obvious: popular musicians performing karaoke during what is otherwise essentially an interview inside a moving vehicle. The connection with Planet of the Apps— a reality contest show where app developers compete for funding and App Store placement— is less obvious. But what is clear is that Apple Music original content won’t be limited to shows actually about or related to music. In other words, Apple Music is about to be a whole lot more than just music, for better or for worse depending on your view-point on the subject. Carpool Karaoke will launch first next month and Planet of the Apps sometime this spring.
And the original content certainly won’t stop there. A report back in January before Apple’s unveiling of the new TV series noted that the company was interested in both scripted tv shows and possibly original movies. Dr. Dre is also said to be developing an original series for Apple Music.
App redesign w/ TV & Movies section
One thing we do know is Apple will have a new “TV & Movies” section built into the Apple Music app, likely next month when the new shows start to launch, at least on iOS. This was leaked in the second clip for the Carpool Karaoke series last month (pictured above).
So far the Apple Music app just has a neglected Videos section buried within the Browse tab, so this change gives hope that Apple is possibly revamping the presence of video in the app alongside the new shows. Add in the app plans the company hinted at for Planet of the Apps and it sounds like we have some new app features and possibly a redesign incoming.
More Beats, Live events
Beats 1 has spent the last year debuting a lot of new content from high-profile artists, and while Apple hasn’t released specifics on how many of its 20 million subscribers are actually listening to the 24/7 radio station, it looks like Beats is here to stay as the face of live music content within Apple Music. And there’s more on the way…
Right now we have the 24/7 Beats 1 radio stream with a growing list of celebrity guest shows and live content. What’s next for Beats 1? Well probably Beats 2, 3, 4, and so on. That, according Apple Music’s creative director Zane Lowe, is an idea the team is developing.
Beats 1 set up shop this year at SXSW and did live broadcasts with interviews and performances, but how many Apple Music subscribers got to see the shows? Only a lucky few (mostly journalists) in attendance. The live concerts it held with The Chainsmokers, Vince Staples and others were nowhere to be found in Apple Music, and that’s a shame.
Beats 1 has a ton of great content every week but it’s buried in the app and mostly only promoted on social channels. It’s now in a good groove having developed the format, but now Beats 1 needs a revamp and Apple needs a way to better promote live content within the app. Fortunately it looks like that’s in the plans thanks to Apple’s other original content plans and the new TV shows & Movies section.
Apple’s next major event for Apple Music could be the Apple Music Festival, last held in London in September and available to live stream free for all subscribers.
Apple has made it clear that part of its strategy with Apple Music is to assist artists in creating great content. Sometimes that means it’s had a hand in producing content in one way or another, and that content usually ends up benefiting Apple by becoming an exclusive release on Apple Music for a period of time.
Apple reportedly gave Chance the Rapper $500,000 for exclusive rights to his latest release for two weeks. Drake’s latest project broke the Apple Music record w/ 89.9M streams in 24 hours, besting Spotify by 30M. So you can expect the war for exclusives between the streaming music services to continue, and Apple to get even more aggressive as it ties-in its efforts with original content.
After the updates next month with the new original content and accompanying app updates, we will have our eyes on WWDC in June. It will be where Apple gives us our first glimpse at what’s to come in iOS 11, and that will also certainly mean some improvements for Apple Music in the process.
It will also be primetime for updates to Apple TV and other platforms, so if Apple has plans for revamped apps and perhaps bringing the new Apple Music original content to its TV app (as it inevitably expands it to more countries outside the US), that will be the time to do it.
It would also be an ideal venue to make a splash with Planet of the Apps, and if the show debuts in the spring as a linear episodic series as planned, it should still be running and in full swing during WWDC.