The Next Big Move

In less than two weeks, Apple will release Apple Music to the public. Impending that release, a lot of people have come out with criticisms of Apple Music, including over its social media component--Connect. Apple has envisioned Connect to serve as the ultimate platform of communication and interaction between artists and fans. Essentially, Connect will provide Apple Music users with a feed from each of the artists whose music may be on their streaming stations or in their music libraries. On these feeds, artists can post casual messages, backstage photos, exclusive videos, among other content to engage their consumers.

Many are expressing uncertainty over Connect’s ability to push Facebook and Twitter aside and truly take control over that artist-fan relationship, or even remain competitively relevant. What we can ascertain, however, are the implications behind a move like Connect.

Apple’s direction in bridging the gap between artists and fans within its music service underscores the importance of eliminating the “uninvolved-third-party” nature of streaming services. Connect tries to add functionality and value to music streaming because with Connect, Apple Music becomes more than a supplier of tunes. Currently, artists and streaming services are not always on the friendliest terms--think Taylor Swift and Spotify--because some artists believe they only lose out when their music gets streamed. Connect attempts to remedy this situation of apparent loss, integrating self-promotion opportunities for artists into its music streaming in the form of social media interactions.

This strategy--connecting artists to consumers who are streaming their music--will become critical in an industry that is becoming progressively digital. The fact that a company like Apple has added this strategy to its playbook goes to show just how powerful a move it may be for the future.