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Apple Music still needs some work, says Apple exec

By | Published on Friday 4 September 2015

Apple Music

Apple’s VP of iTunes International has admitted to The Guardian that the tech giant has “a bit of homework” to do in relation to the Apple Music app that was launched to much hype earlier this summer.

Apple’s first big play in streaming music hasn’t been universally panned, and some elements were quite well received, but there were some bugs, especially in the way the new app handled user’s existing iTunes libraries. And some were disappointed that the core streaming service element was a pretty standard affair, resulting in much more attention being given to the freemium Beats 1 service, which is, at the end of the day, just a radio station.

Speaking to The Guardian, Apple man Oliver Schusser said: “There’s a lot of work going into making the product better. Our focus is on editorial and playlists, and obviously we have teams all around the world working on that, but we’re also adding features and cleaning up certain things. The product is always our priority, and we are getting a lot of feedback. Remember, this was a very big launch in 110 markets instantly, so we get a ton of feedback. We’re obviously trying to make it better every day”.

Other than the playlists, the big thing with Apple Music was its Connect platform, which aims to enable artists to, well, connect with users of the streaming service. Response to that in the artist community seems to have been decidedly lacklustre, though Schusser insisted in his Guardian interview that: “Apple Music Connect is growing big time with more and more artists connecting to their fans, but we still have a bit of homework to be done for the rest of the year”.

Of course, while Apple is an undeniable innovator when it comes to devices and operating systems, its software and content platforms have always been a bit of a mixed bag, and the excitement around Apple Music in the music industry was more about the firm’s scale than its product, and its potential to turn many millions more people onto paid-for subscription streaming. Whether that potential can be realised is a test still to come, of course, with the big three month free trial still underway for even those who signed up on day one.

Apple has another big marketing push planned for its streaming service, as that initial free trial starts to expire for early adopters, and with the summer break over and consumers paying more attention to such things. The upcoming Apple Music Festival in London – a rebrand of the old iTunes Festival – will be a big part of that, with numerous big name artists from different genres lined up to play; Take That, The Chemical Brothers and The Weeknd have just been added to the bill.

Though, Schusser also added, while the new streaming product may be getting all the marketing attention, Apple remains committed to further honing the iTunes platform as well. “If you follow the industry and look at the numbers, the download business has been really, really healthy”, he said. “iTunes is a big part of our business, still, and will continue to be, so we focus just as much time and energy on maintaining that, editorially and working on features”.

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