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APPLE MUSIC is one of just two services that tech giant Apple has made available on the Android platform. The music streaming service was launched by Apple in 2015, and by 2016 their focus also moved towards streaming music videos as well.
But when the service was first launched, it did not garner much applause from users worldwide because of a very non-intuitive user experience. However, they were praised for their song and playlist curations.
Three years ago, the music streaming industry was still new and evolving but now, it’s a big market for both companies as well as users.
But where is the artist in all this mix?
Apple Music, like many other music streaming services, works on a subscription-based model. In India, sadly before the advent of Jio, everyone liked their music free.
But since data has become ubiquitous and affordable, there has been an increase in the number of people subscribing to music streaming services. In India alone, music streaming services like Gaana, Amazon Music, Google Music, Saavn, and Apple Music are gaining acceptance and getting popular.
Apple Music recently announced that they now have 50 million subscribers worldwide. They have also seen a trend among their users, especially in India, which shows people like to watch the songs as well.
Apple Music is also known for its curations that are way better than the machine-curated playlists that one gets on other streaming services.
What makes Apple Music a little different are features like Artist pages that showcase Indie artistes that might not get recognised or discovered.
Recently, we met some of these new age artistes at Apple’s office in Gurugram, India. And the excitement that they had in their eyes for being a part of Apple’s ecosystem was quite unique.
Nikhita Gandhi, who’s mostly known for Bollywood songs and her latest hit “Aao Kabhi Haveli Pe”, recently had her exclusive single released on Apple Music called “Humshakal”.
Apple Music is also trying to be that one platform for Indian artistes, where they are featured as individual music artistes and not just a part of a Bollywood movie song.
Apple Music has also worked a lot in customising the user interface for better discovery of new music. The streaming service has over 14 localised radio stations that are just music and have no jock talk on them.
These radio stations are a combination of popular local languages like Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi and Bengali stations and also for different eras of music like 90s Bollywood Radio, Telugu Romance and Hindustani Classical to name a few.
So, an artist can also be found in the discovery tab of the app alongside the bigwigs of the music industry. Palash Bhise a.k a. Splash, who’s an Indie Music artist on Apple Music, was quite elated when he saw himself featured for the very first time.
Indie artist Palash Bhise a.ka. Splash says: “Apple Music featured me on their New Artist Spotlight. It took my game up and a lot of people have now reached out to me who would have otherwise never known me.”
This is also a possibility since ‘New Artist Spotlight’ tab on Apple Music is a dedicated platform by the company to launch at least one new artist every month with an exclusive release.
Examples include Prabh Deep, MADM, and Sutej Singh. Apple wants to make Apple Music an established platform to support local artistes in India.
Apple Music is a strong credible brand, and it raises your stature as you grow with it.
– Palash Bhise a.ka. Splash, Indie Artist
Another interesting feature that’s available on Apple Music is branded playlists like A-List and Today’s Hits which offer Indian content. They offer playlists like A-List Bollywood, A-List Tamil, A-List Punjabi to cater to the local market. Today’s Hits playlists are a combination of International and Indian Music.
Apple also says that Apple Music has partnered with all leading International, Indian and regional music labels to cater to varied tastes and preferences of listeners. There were reservations from Record Label companies when they first launched and wanted to have exclusive rights.
Since then the company has toned down its approach and offers its ‘Hear it Hear. First.’ (HIHF) on Apple Music. This feature celebrates Apple Music Exclusive releases on a monthly basis like Taarefaan (Veere Di Wedding) with Zee Music alongside Lal Pari Mastani with Sona Mohapatra, and others.
So far, Apple Music has supported over 40 exclusive releases across both programs in India.
Apple Music also populates its ‘Artists Pages’, that is all about the Artist and their work starting with the new photo treatment. With the ‘Apple Music for Artists’ program launched earlier this year, artistes have the ability to control both their image and their career.
Supporting this, Bollywood Playback Singer Nikhita Gandhi says: “I’m really excited about my new single “Humshakal” which launched exclusively on Apple Music on August 24!”
What’s incredible is that Apple Music provides a level playing field for everyone – Indie as well as Bollywood artistes.
– Nikhita Gandhi, Bollywood Playback Singer
Recently, Apple also associated with Singer-Songwriter Ankur Tewari on Apple Music and he also cannot stop raving about their service in India.
He said: “Since I’ve been in the industry for so long, I appreciate the personal touch and the human curation that Apple Music brings rather than solely relying on algorithms. My music ended up trending in Bulgaria, opening up a whole new audience!”
One of my songs was even featured in between Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber on the charts, and I never thought it would happen.
– Ankur Tewari, Singer-Songwriter
Apple Music also has an easy to view ‘Top 100 Songs’ all over the world. In addition, Apple Music also has playlists of the top songs for the top music producing countries.
These charts are available everywhere and are updated every day. They can even be added to a users Library like a playlist and will update automatically.
Apple in India is bullish on not just its product offerings, but also for services like Apple Music. Their commitment is also seen as they recently partnered with Radio City to launch the biggest Bollywood Chart Show in India called ‘Apple Music Top 25’ with Radio City.
This is a weekly show dedicated to Bollywood and plays the top 25 most streamed songs on Apple Music, every Saturday, and also features interview with local artistes.
To further build on the talent in the Indian music industry, in October of 2017, Apple Music announced an association with A.R. Rahman’s Music school KMMC to set up a Mac OS Lab at their Chennai and the upcoming campus in Mumbai.
The Mac Lab teaches students how to create music using Logic Pro X, Apple’s professional music creation app for the Mac. Apple Music is also contributing to funding 10 full-time musical scholarships for students from underprivileged backgrounds.
With iOS12 launch in Fall and the new iPhones also around the corner, Apple Music will be introducing some of these new features to make it feel, perform, and look even better.
Apple Music comes with a three-month free trial everywhere with no exceptions. In India, individual membership is Rs 120 per month and the Family Plan at Rs 190.
The Apple Music Student Membership is for Rs 60 per month.
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