Apple’s Plan For Apple Music: Become MTV!!

Does anyone out there remember MTV when it was good? I do. I remember it blaring out great music in the background at house parties. The music playlist was great – it played tracks you couldn’t find elsewhere. We loved MTV. It became a huge brand, but eventually seemed to forget about the music fans who got it there and stopped showing as much music. I don’t think I watched it again after that, until Pimp My Ride.

Music TV Deficit

No one has really got music television right since MTV.

In some ways the services that do exist are more personalised than ever, but in others that lack of a guide or strong playlist curation means the market for music television looks a little fractured. Oh, sure, channels exist, but do they really have the resonance of MTV in its early days? I don’t think so.

Apple’s Apple Music chief, Jimmy Iovine, seems to remember MTV too. And he seems to want to put a focus on original video content within Apple Music to help the service establish that same kind of resonant emotional connection with his fans.

“A music service needs to be more than a bunch of songs and a few playlists,” says Iovine, 64. “I’m trying to help Apple Music be an overall movement in popular culture, everything from unsigned bands to video. We have a lot of plans.”

Some Things To Expect

All this comes from an interesting Bloomberg profile of Iovine, which raises a bunch of interesting insights and not before known info about his Grand Apple Music Plan:

  • More focus on video in iOS 11, particularly Apple-generated video.
  • Self-made content including Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke will be supplemented by as many as eight more original series, including music-focused documentaries about hip-hop labels Bad Boy Records and Cash Money. Also one about music impresario, Clive Davis.
  • Puff Daddy’s Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop documentary is also coming to Apple Music.
  • Perhaps a sequel to R Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet R&B opera.
  • There’s even talk of a series made with director, JJ Abrams.

“We have a bunch of other stuff that we can’t talk about yet because the deals aren’t’ done,” Iovine says, “but we’re starting to turn it up.”

He explained that the core of the content proposition is to be around things “that people are involved in with pop culture and that we think will be great for our audience.”

Millennial TV

In other words, Apple will continue to develop Apple Music until the service has the same kind of emotional resonance we once enjoyed with MTV. For a set monthly fee, you won’t just be able to listen to all the music you want, but you’ll be able to develop an in-depth knowledge of artists and watch exclusive music-related content you just won’t get elsewhere.

Does this mean Beats 1 will become a TV channel? Possibly.

If it does, isn’t there some possibility that one day not so long from now young music fans will be sitting around at their house party watching Beats 1 TV via their Apple television? It makes sense – as Apple’s recent retail changes also act as clear proof the company is changing rapidly in order to build its connection with the Millennial consumers who grew up with iMac, iPod, and iPhone.

I hope Apple invests heavily in original music content – it would be really nice to be able to watch every music-related film, documentary, or TV show ever made through the service. That would be something else. And I think it’s a reality that’s only really a few deals away.


Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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