With 13 million subscribers, Apple Music is pretty far from being a failure. At the same time, it’s fair to say that the service probably hasn’t been met with the rapturous applause which greeted, say, the launch of the iTunes Store back in 2003.
That’s about to change at WWDC, however, with Apple rumored to be using the developer conference to unleash “sweeping changes” to its streaming music service.
These changes are said to include a total redo of the user interface in an effort to make it more intuitive to navigate, as well as better integration of streaming and downloading options, and an expansion of the online radio service. While it’s not mentioned, I wonder if this could hint at future Beats 2, 3, 4 etc. music stations — as per last year’s rumors on the subject.
Interestingly, today’s report also goes into a bit of the behind-the-scenes drama which accompanied the integration of Beats and Apple staff, which possibly resulted in the watered-down, disappointing Apple Music. According to Bloomberg:
“The deal sparked a rare culture clash within Apple that led to the departure of several key managers and, most important, created a product that many critics say doesn’t meet Apple’s own lofty standards. Apple is still struggling to integrate its employees and unite the streaming and downloading businesses into a cohesive music strategy.”
In particular, some Beats employees reportedly found it difficult to cope with Apple’s micromanaging ways — which involved a protracted approval process, involving multiple sign-offs from vice presidents, for even early stage ideas. While Apple views this as important to maintain quality, Beats employees saw it as unnecessarily bureaucratic.
With Apple Music’s senior director Ian Rogers having left Apple in a surprise move last summer, the refreshed Apple Music is reportedly being overseen by content head Robert Kondrk and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor — with additional input from Jony Ive’s team, Jimmy Iovine, and Eddy Cue.
It is likely to be accompanied by a major marketing campaign to try and drive subscriptions to the service.
This year’s WWDC will take place June 13 through June 17 in San Francisco. The keynote address will take place at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, with the remainder of the week’s sessions will be located at Moscone Center West. In other words, we don’t have long to wait!