The human touch: Apple’s killer plan for Beats

A little human touch, a little human nature

the human touch apples killer plan for beats

Human, rather than machine intelligence, is the big drive behind Apple’s plan for Beats, with the company making huge investments in intelligent playlist curation to support its service when it launches in June.

Clever curation

UK digital music industry bible, MusicAlly, this morning reports the following:

“Music Ally has learned that Apple is currently paying music journalists to write copy for thousands of playlists – all of which could form the backbone of Beats when it finally relaunches.”

The report predicts Apple will relaunch Beats “in June." Apple has declined to comment on “speculation," but it comes as a series of claims suggest the company is going to put a great deal of its corporate weight behind iTunes this season.

Also read: 8 Apple TV secrets every iOS user should know

This new report, written by veteran music industry journalist Eamonn Forde continues to explain the following:

  • Professional music writers are being paid “handsomely” to write short descriptions for playlists that will be offered within the Beats Music service.
  • Playlist descriptions are around 50-words long.
  • These pre-created music collections cater to all kinds of musical tastes, split by artist, genres, introductions to styles, playlists for workouts an more.
  • Work assembling playlist notes is taking place in the U.S.
  • Thousands of different playlists are being created.

Oh, the humanity!

In previous episodes of the “How Will Apple Improve Digital Music” series, we’ve heard that:

  • Apple has hired UK national radio DJ, Zane Lowe to help guide music efforts in Cupertino.
  • Apple in February began searching for an “editorial producer” with a background in music journalism to work in its London office.
  • The company’s $3 billion acquisition of Beats also saw the company hire the likes of Jimmy Iovine, Dr Dre and Trent Reznor.

There’s no reason to be surprised at Apple's focus on putting intelligence back into music. After all, having all the music in the world available to you doesn’t help you find the gold among 30 million tracks. You need enthusiastic recommendation.

Iovine has waxed lyrical on the importance of curated music experiences in the past (see video above). Now with the resources of Apple behind the attempt, it seems likely we can expect well-crafted collections designed to whet music listeners' interest in new genres, music forms and artists.

“Beats is the first music subscription service done right,” Cue told Re/code last September. “The importance of curation…at the end of the day [is] about the things we are going to do together, and those things are going to be a lot better than the things we can do on our own.”

Recent claims suggest Apple is attempting to secure exclusive artist deals for its music streaming service. To secure such deals, the company is offering artists more cash than they get from other streaming services. That’s a good thing given right now the streaming music profit carve up leaves artists with peanuts.

It has been claimed the relaunched Beats service will cost $7.99/month with a $14.99/month family sharing option.

It also seems safe to assume Apple will attempt to persuade customers to purchase the music they like the most, thus shoring up artist income with direct sales, as well as a larger slice of the streaming music prize.

Finally, there’s the tantalizing claim Apple intends on making Beats available for iOS and Android. If this actually does happen, Apple would immediately gain an audience among pre-switch Android users who may be interested in purchasing Beats-related iOS wearable devices.

If that hunch played out, such a move would guarantee a few laughs for Apple watchers, and would be very likely to make Apple the biggest selling brand of Android device accessory.

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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