Apple’s music streaming service Apple Music was launched in June 2015.
Equipped with playlists curated by Apple Music editors and radio stations featuring prominent DJs, the service serves as a platform for accessing high quality music in the music-flooded digital era. By forging meaningful relationships with artists through album exclusives and music video funding, Apple Music is redefining the landscape of music streaming.
Welcome to the 55th edition of magazine B.
This letter marks my first official introduction to our readers. Though I’ve been an editor with B for the past five years, planning and writing articles since our fourth issue (Lamy) through to our most recent 54th issue (Maison Margiela), it feels quite different to be ringing in a new issue on behalf of our team. I’m reminded of what it feels like trying to write a first letter to someone that mixture of nervousness and solemnity. For myself and for the members of our team, the change that has ushered in my writing of this letter is in some respects slight and in others momentous. Then again, change is something we at B have put into action every month. Rather than renew our content and layout across the board at specific times and inform our readers accordingly, we’ve instead devoted much purposeful thought to deciding how to discover and tell the story of each successive brand in a fresh way, every single issue. Such deliberations have helped place B on its present course. We are determined to stay thoughtful and to stay ready to embrace change, as we have thus far, with the hope that we will see B become an even better publication.
In this edition, we spotlight Apple Music, the music streaming service launched by Apple in June 2015. It’s a fascinating endeavor – on a micro level a streaming service, and on a macro level a vast ecosystem, depending on how the user views it. And as is clear from its name, Apple Music is about more than harnessing the technology of streaming. Longtime users of Apple’s hardware and services, from the iPod (Apple’s take on portable music players) to iTunes (the company’s platform for purchasing and collecting digital music), will no doubt notice this. On the Apple website, Apple Music is grouped under the “Music” tab of the main menu, along with iTunes and the iPod, as well as music accessories like headphones. On the iPhone, which comes with Apple Music installed as a default application, Apple Music’s display icon is a single musical note rather than the Apple Music logo, and it’s labeled “Music.” And this attention to music runs deeper. According to the numerous books that have been written on Apple, founder Steve Jobs often sought inspiration for the creative process from musicians like the Beatles and Bob Dylan. Such inspiration has infused Apple’s products, services and advertising. If the Apple brand is the company’s hardware, music is its soul.
In one sense, Apple Music might be described as the musical “fruit” of Apple’s journey thus far, though some might counter that it’s far from a finished product. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call it a service in progress, requiring continuous revision and adjustment to keep up with the rapid transformation of the music industry. From a purely functional perspective, it’s not apparent what qualities set Apple Music – a latecomer to the streaming market – apart from its more established competitors. For library size and user interface, Apple Music gets ranked at roughly similar, if not lower, levels. Taken as an ecosystem, however, rather than a product, Apple Music looks markedly different. Like most of Apple’s products, both tangible and intangible, Apple Music is not a one-way service that simply delivers a product to users. In Apple Music, the company has created a system where the flow goes in both directions, with benefits for both the creators and consumers of music. This dynamic is clearly evident in the 24-hour radio station Beats 1, which includes programs DJed by popular musicians like Pharrell Williams and Drake, and even experimental artists like pianist Chilly Gonzales. These shows become platforms for musicians to provide exclusive interviews about their latest albums, introduce the new artists they’ve discovered within their respective music scenes, and also share the music they personally consider important. The musicians can also go a step further, partnering with the editors at Apple Music to create original video and even stage performances. Apple’s insistence on offering Apple Music as a paid service is also something for musicians to smile about. For creators, the Apple Music ecosystem is a playground of possibility, and for all the things they are encouraged to do within it, they receive appropriate returns. This, not a sophisticated algorithm, is probably Apple Music’s major strength.
We often say that those who ultimately come out on top are those who genuinely enjoy what they do. Apple, despite its diverse product lineup, isn’t seen merely as a purveyor of electronics devices, concerned only with selling consumers something new every season. The reason is enjoyment. The people at Apple are all about taking the things they genuinely enjoy and giving them expression in the purest of ways. This is how their products are birthed. Apple Music is the latest such product. It is also the start of something new, and we can only imagine how it will come to shape the Apple of the future.
Eunsung Park, Editor-in-Chief
A look at the Apple keynote presentations that led to Apple Music
A guide to using Apple Music
Comments by Artists
Artists give their take on Apple Music
Apple Music’s relationships with its headline artists
The faces behind the trends in the music industry
Comments by Users
Users share their thoughts on Apple Music
Clement Vache, Music Curator at Collette
Apple Music in the everyday lives of listeners
Five brands and the ways they utilize music
Comments by the Media
Apple Music as seen by the media
How in-house music experts and industry careerists built up Apple Music
Hardware and synchronization services designed with the listener in mind
The big players in the music market, according to critics
The birth of Apple Music
Apple Music’s competitors in the music streaming market
Apple Music controversies
Apple’s game-changing ad music
The Apple visionary’s relationship with music
핵The vision behind Apple Music, as told by four Apple Music executives
Apple Music by the numbers
- Publisher Suyong Joh
- Editor In Chief / Creative Director Taehyuk Choi
- Senior Editor Eunsung Park
- Editor Jaewoo Seo, Yeongmin Kim
- Guest Designer Gyeongtak Kang
- Filmmaker Sukwang Baak
- Marketer Hyunjoo Kim
- Distribution Manager Sanghoon Kim
- Correspondents Mihye Nam (Tokyo), Nari Park (London), Lena Shin (LA), Sanghyeok Lee (Berlin), Jeewon Lim (Milan), Hyeseon Jeong (Paris)
- Publishing JOH & Company
- The Lyrics: 1961-2012
- Starting at Zero: His Own Story
- Sound Effects Page count 688
- Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
- The Future of Music: Manifesto for the Digital Music Revolution>
- Steve Jobs