The fate of Apples “music DNA” claim

Erin Sidney wrote a polite indictment of Apple about their self-acclaimed DNA full of music. It is a must read if you’re interested in the consequences of cultural de-contextualisation from the perspective of creators. His article from 2015 touches several pain points which are worth exploring in detail.

His final pledge to expand iTunes LP into Apples artist network Connect is comprehensible even today:

But I like to imagine a world with deep-linked album credits — not just who engineered, produced and played on the record, but going much further. Allowing the artist to thank people and bands for their help, to call out charities that they find meaningful, and for the user to experience all of it beautifully.

These “living liner notes” could be supplemented by a time capsule of the period spent working on the album you’re listening to as documented by the artist themselves on Connect!

I can imagine artists adding information as it becomes relevant later.

You could build a whole user experience around liner notes deeply integrated into Apple Music and spur a whole new level of self-motivated music discovery. Human discovery by humans about humans.

A whole new generation of kids like us, opening up records, scouring them for details, seeking out connections only they could make, building a world that inspires them and all of us.

Apple has confirmed that as of March 2018 new iTunes LP submissions will no longer be accepted. If that means Apple will revamp context information for a mobile world or they finally gave up to care is up for speculation to this date.

Lest you think they couldn’t do this, please remember, Apple is the company that decided working with Google wasn’t in line with their core philosophy and so built a team to map the entire planet. They MAPPED THE FUCKING PLANET when they woke up one morning and decided to.

So there’s no way they can’t tackle this. But they need to want to.

I have no idea what’s stopping them or whether they plan to address this in a future update of Apple Music.

Do they need to want though? That is my main concern: if Apple had visionary leadership they knew why and how to address this lack of commitment for responsible music discovery – for the benefit of creators and listeners equally.

I think the chances of a return to the meaning of “music in our DNA” as a fruitful connection between humans are slim to none as the importance of integration of algorithm experts inside Apple grows and grows.

The Wall Street Journal outlined the task of the successor of Jimmy Iovine:

Mr. Schusser takes over as Apple Music is poised to surpass music-streaming rival Spotify Technology SA in the U.S. in paid subscribers. The music unit has become a key piece of Apple’s strategy to boost its services revenue to more than $40 billion by 2020, a critical part of the company’s future as people hold on to iPhones longer and device sales slow, analysts say.

If you play catch up then you can’t skate to to where the puck is going to be.

I think Apple should just drop the claim “Music is in our DNA” as Google dropped their motto “Don’t be evil”.