When you wait 16 years in anticipation of an album that seemed like it was never going to be and then suddenly it hits you like a juggernaut – someone’s gotta concede defeat gracefully.
The premiere of ‘Compton’, Dre’s soundtrack to ‘Straight Outta Compton’ wasn’t just a historic feat for Hip-Hop but also a coup for Apple Music and Beats1. If we were still waiting to see who would be crowned victor out of the current streaming war – the stakes just became unsurpassable.
In the current age of technology being the first out the blocks with a new service doesn’t always guarantee you’ll have a place in history as the victor but what Apple got right yesterday may just change the entire ‘experience’ of music. Dr Dre’s album ‘Compton’ is available exclusively only on iTunes/Apple music and its premiere became a world-wide event with a synchronised streaming window open to listeners around the world.
If you’re a Dre fan then there was no question that you had to be tuned into Apple Music on Thursday night for its biggest exclusive event. Not only did Twitter go wild but this exclusive went off without a hitch and Apple managed the premiere of one of Hip-Hop G.O.A.T’s new record successfully for three hours. There were no leaks and no one was looking to go anywhere else but to Apple Music to hear this record.
What Apple has always mastered is the art of the launch – the anticipation that has had geeks worldwide queuing up to grab that brands new device hot of the racks. It used to be the same anticipation that was held for music and it had lost its magic within the music industry. The only solution artists seemed to rely on these days was a surprise album drop that soon lost it’s temporary surge rapidly after. It seems Apple though may have reclaimed that moment for all its glory. This isn’t something a major record company has been able to pull off for some time – this was Apple’s ingenious plan which finally revealed itself for what it is. World domination in music.
No I’m not an obsessed geek who’s been worshiping at the altar that is Apple, but I’m one of those music aficionado’s who’s mourned for what seemed like the end of the days when events in music meant something. It was never just about the price of music, its been about the passion for music. I’ll admit I didn’t buy into all that Apple keynote blah blah about how they were going to change the world with Apple music – it wasn’t as innovative as their other products. We weren’t even sure if it was going to be such a massive game changer. Yes, Beats 1 is out to disrupt the radio industry but its yet be seen if they can cart out enough talent to draw listeners away from their favourite DJ’s and stations. We’re watching this closely.
So if you’ve worked in music & technology like I have, it becomes a cliched mantra about ‘changing the world’ every time a new device, platform and service is launched. For Apple the challenge was always going to be a big one but this week they released figures to show that they may have caught the momentum and transformed it into a worthy vehicle.
If the 11 million subscribers who have now signed up to Apple Music stick around then Apple will have edged out a batch of their competitors in one sweep – they’ll have more paid subscribers than Deezer (6m), Napster/Rhapsody (3m) and Tidal (under 1m) combined. With Spotify in their sights who took 10 years to build its 20 million subscriber base, Apple Music’s ‘subscribers’ are already halfway as large as Spotify.
In September, Apple are rumoured to be announcing the new iPhone 7 and if the record breaking sales of the last new iPhone 6/6+, which sold 10m units in its first three days are anything to go by – we may just be seeing the build up to something even bigger now that Apple music is in the picture.
Whatever is in store – its time not to underestimate whats to come – the sales of Compton on Apple Music will be what the music industry will be watching in the coming days but for now suffice to say – the momentous event that was Dre’s first album in 16 years was heard across the world – together in unison! If I were Spotify this is the moment I’d start getting very nervous.