Right after Apple released its digital products in Cupertino, California on September 9, 2014, world-famous Irish rock band U2 took the stage to debut a brand-new song. Later, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced proudly that Songs of Innocence, the band’s latest album, would instantly appear on the mobile gadgets of millions of Apple customers for free.
Thiswell-meaning giveaway (a) backfired, though. First, fellow artists began to chide U2 for (b)seeming to validate the “music is free” mentality. Second, Apple customers complained about having music thrust upon them without their consent. Last but not least, critics pointed out that U2, however dazzling their career may have been, had turned into an uncool band who peddled generic-sounding “dad rock.”
It was, without a doubt, a low point for Apple’s street cred among music aficionados. But perhaps, unbeknownst to the vocally disgruntled, Cupertino was busy plotting its (c)comeback via a new music service that might (1) break new ground.
When it was finally ready to unveil its Apple Music subscription service last summer, Canadian rapper Drake’s participation was symbolic of how serious Apple is about its renewed focus on music. For a reported $19 million, Apple signed a deal with Drake that put his songs in Apple ads and led to the successful Apple-exclusive release of Drake’s fourth album.
And it doesn’t stop with Drake. Other big shots, like Kanye West and Rihanna, are(2) jumping on this exclusivity bandwagon, possibly because money talks. As you dig into the Apple Music app, it becomes clear Apple has been investing heavily in music curation and media partnerships in a bid to strike a chord with music fans. Don’t expect to see Bono back on that stage in Cupertino anytime soon.