There’s a really interesting stat in the latest profile of Apple Music’s work with artists: more than 800,000 of its users have already pre-added Billie Eilish’s new album, which comes out next week. Pre-adds being Apple Music’s version of ‘pre-saves’ on other streaming services – and which unlike those rivals, is built in to its platform.
Come for the stat, but stay for the rapier-sharp shade aimed at Spotify in MBW’s articles on Eilish’s success. “While most services focus the majority of their efforts around playlists, Apple Music still emphasizes albums because we understand their value as a storytelling tool for artists to create context around their music,” said Apple Music boss Oliver Schusser. “I don’t ever want to look back on my time in the streaming era and think, ‘Yeah man, great job at just building a utility’,” added colleague Zane Lowe. The scramble to claim Eilish feels a bit like the time when Spotify, SoundCloud and Shazam were jostling for bragging rights over Lorde’s rise to fame.
Apple Music has certainly backed her from early in her development, but Spotify, YouTube and other services have also been on board for an artist who – as Lowe eloquently explains – really does have something special that is connecting with young fans in particular.
In any case, the two stories linked above offer more than just corporate side-eye: how Apple is working with emerging artists; emphasising albums and pitching its culture to labels and artists alike is genuinely interesting. In other, equally-interesting news, Apple Music is launching a new playlist called Suave, which will be a multi-lingual R&B playlist featuring English, Spanish and Portugese-language tracks.