Complex magazine recently sat down with three of Apple Music’s key players. Zane Lowe, ‘The Voice;’ Larry Jackson, ‘Head of content;’ and marketing maestro Bozoma Saint John, whose job it is to convince those that never have to start paying for a music streaming subscription, to talk about the first 18 months of Apple Music. Here’s what we learned.
1. It’s an “intersection of all things pop-culture.” Jackson considers the service “more than just a utility,” and instead a “place where the best creative thinkers in music can congregate and come up with different ideas.”
2. At first, musicians didn’t get it. Though Lowe didn’t name names of those that didn’t, he noted the likes of Elton John, Pharrell Williams and Drake as those that “got it quick,” while others needed “a lot more finessing.”
3. Apple Music is part of an evolution. “If you are deeply serious about music and follow how it evolves, and how it moves into a new era, [you know that] we’re in the middle of that shift,” says Lowe. “Every day something is changing or moving or evolving for people who love music and entertainment. This is how they will consume it. They will go, “I get that for news, I get that for entertainment, I get that for magazines, I get that for movies, and I get that for music.” We’re lining it up, and it’s building to a tipping point over time.”
4. It’s all about collaboration. With artists, with Apple, with music and technology. Lowe talked about the “Hard margins,” and the difficulty in marrying that with creativity. “With tech it’s mathematics,” he says. “What happens when you take something that you love, that makes you feel a certain way, that’s made of those hard margins? How do you keep the humanity and the feelings and the stories and the conversations in it?” Meanwhile, Jackson focuses on the artists Apple works with: “Everything we’re doing here is truly a collaboration with artists. We can’t take credit for the work. Taylor Swift came in with a great idea earlier this year [for her 1989 World Tour documentary]. It’s just collaborating in a really beautiful sense.”
5. Conflict is the “Secret Sauce.” That’s how Jackson describes it – noting that it stems from their passion for Apple Music. They also get frustrated too. “We’re developing something very special and we just want people to pay attention to it,” says Saint John. “My five-year vision is that I want every single person on the planet to be engaged on Apple Music. I truly believe we’ve created something very, very special. I don’t think anyone else can do this. I will scream from the mountain top until everyone knows.”
For more insight into the top brass over at Apple Music, you can read the full interview over on Complex Magazine.