Apple Music’s Record Label Pages

Zane Lowe talked with Rolling Stone about Apple Music’s new record label pages:

“We want to highlight labels that are really hyper-focused on building great quality. The labels we’re partnering with here are the ones where I want to search for their logo on the back of the record and would buy music unheard because I trust that,” Lowe says. “That to me is really the culture that we’re trying to represent from a label point of view here. In a way, this is an opportunity for us to reestablish the concept of a label as something more than just a bank. To look at the label system again as more than just a distribution model or an investment model, but actually as a place where music, art and culture is fostered in a really deliberate and very thoughtful way.”

Where’s my Drive-Thru Records page, Zane?

Eddy Cue on Why Spatial Audio Is the Future of Music

Billboard:

One of the first people that told me about Dolby Atmos was Adam Levine. I happen to know him, and we were in the same place, so he was like, “Have you listened to this?” And he sends me this song and he was really excited. He said, “I can’t believe what I can do with this.” It’s going to be really exciting to see how this evolves, and all of what artists are going to be able to do with this, and how exciting it is for fans and listeners to be able to do this.

So we went after the labels and are going to the artists and educating them on it. There’s a lot of work to be done because we have, obviously, tens of millions of songs. This is not a simple “take-the-file that you have in stereo, processes through this software application and out comes Dolby Atmos.” This requires somebody who’s a sound engineer, and the artist to sit back and listen, and really make the right calls and what the right things to do are. It’s a process that takes time, but it’s worth it. […]

To me, when I look at Dolby Atmos, I think it’s going to do for music what HD did for television. Today, where can you watch television that’s not in HD?

One of the advantages music has over television is you can’t take an old TV show and truly up-res it to HD because it was shot on low-quality cameras. But in the case of audio, all these things were recorded on multiple tracks, and so it’s possible to go back to a lot of the songs and be able to do this.

The full article can be read via Apple News. I’ve only just started listening to various songs mixed in this way, and some of them are downright incredible. Others, either don’t sound great to my ears, or I’ve heard the original mixes so many times something just sounds off. I am very excited to see various artists experiment with what is now unlocked in this space, however.

Apple Rolls Our Spatial Audio and Lossless Tracks

MacStories:

Yesterday, not long after Apple’s opening WWDC keynote, the company activated Spatial Audio and lossless playback for Apple Music. The company followed up with a press release in which Zane Lowe, Apple Music’s co-head of Artist Relations and radio host, explains the new feature and how he feels Spatial Audio will affect music.

They have also released a playlist showcasing the Spatial Audio feature. Some have been sharing songs they’ve found that really take advantage of the format.

A Cool Now Playing Widget for Your Desktop

Apps

Beautiful Pixels:

Sleeve is a beautifully crafted app for macOS that displays your currently playing track as a tiny widget on your Desktop. Made by Hector Simpson and Alasdair Monk from Replay, it works with Apple Music or Spotify and comfortably lives on your desktop without getting in your way. We’ve only been playing around with it for a day, but can confidently say that Sleeve is the ultimate example of a really polished and delightful app.

Sleeve shows the album artwork, track name, artist name, and album name on the Desktop. It’s not an interactive widget, so you can’t control playback using Sleeve (not that we want to). It works natively with the Apple Music and Spotify apps and doesn’t require your account details.

Sleeve is $5 and available here.

Apple Music Announces Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio

Apple:

Apple today announced Apple Music is bringing industry-leading sound quality to subscribers with the addition of Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos. Spatial Audio gives artists the opportunity to create immersive audio experiences for their fans with true multidimensional sound and clarity. Apple Music subscribers will also be able to listen to more than 75 million songs in Lossless Audio — the way the artists created them in the studio. These new features will be available for Apple Music subscribers starting next month at no additional cost.

Streaming Music Payouts

This breakdown from Nick Heer about music streaming payouts touched on a point I think about often:

I get millions of songs for my $10 per month. In about the same timeframe in 2009, I also added Burial’s “Untrue” to my library. I have played the thirteen songs on that album 684 times in total, leading to an estimated payout of $6.84. My CD copy of that album probably cost $15, of which William Bevan probably earned just a few pennies. Apple Music obviously has not existed since 2009 but, if it had, I cannot work out how much less artists would have made if I had streamed all of my music instead of buying physical copies.

Somehow, we are still paying just $10 per month for music in an era where streaming must be paired with live performance to have any hope of generating an income for an artist, all the while fighting the paradox of streaming music, and artists are still getting screwed in the middle of all of it. There would not be a music industry without music, but the industry gets all of the money while musicians still have to fight for scraps.

Apple Music Editorial Content Is Coming to Apple News

John Voorhees, writing for Mac Stories:

The integration of Apple Music and News, which Apple said nothing about during its event on April 20th, is clearly just getting going, so there’s not a lot to see yet. However, it’s also the sort of integration that has the potential to differentiate Music from competitors like Spotify and give users a much-needed reason to visit News. This is a feature we may learn more about next week when iOS and iPadOS 14.5 are released to the public, and that we’ll be keeping a close eye on and as we learn more about Apple’s plans for the fall during WWDC.

Apple Music TV: 24-Hour Music Videos

Apple has launched Apple Music TV, a free 24-hour music video livestream. Variety reports:

Apple has launched Apple Music TV, a free 24-hour curated livestream of popular music videos that will also include “exclusive new music videos and premiers, special curated music video blocks, and live shows and events as well as chart countdowns and guests,” according to the announcement.

Apple Music TV will be available to U.S. residents only on the Apple Music app and the Apple TV app.

Mark Hoppus Gets His Own Apple Music Radio Show

Mark Hoppus

Apple is rebranding Beats 1 as Apple Music 1. Along with the new channels a bunch of musicians are getting shows. Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 is one of them.

Apple Music Hits offers a full catalog of the biggest songs fans know and love from the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s. The station features remarkable new shows from notable artists and hosts, connecting listeners with the stories behind the most popular songs in the world.

Apple Music Hits will be helmed by daily on-air hosts Jayde Donovan, Estelle, Lowkey, Jenn Marino, Sabi, Nicole Sky and Natalie Sky, George Stroumboulopoulos (“House of Strombo”), along with special shows from Ari Melber and others. Fans can also tune in to hear new exclusive shows from artists like Backstreet Boys, Ciara, Mark Hoppus, Huey Lewis, Alanis Morissette, Snoop Dogg, Meghan Trainor, Shania Twain, and more.

If anyone at Apple would like to give me a show, I’d take it. Just throwing that out into the universe.

Apple Music Starts $50 Million COVID-19 Advance Fund for Indie Labels

Rolling Stone:

Apple Music is the latest company to offer industry relief amid the coronavirus pandemic. It told independent record labels Tuesday that it is launching a $50 million advance royalty fund to make sure their artists get paid.

According to a letter sent to the labels and obtained by Rolling Stone, independent labels that earn at least $10,000 in quarterly Apple Music earnings will qualify for the royalty advances. To qualify, the indie labels must have a direct Apple Music distribution deal.