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Apple CEO Tim Cook on Apple Music: 'We Worry About the Humanity Being Drained Out of Music'

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In an extensive profile of Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek, Fast Company's Robert Safian recently sat down to speak for a few minutes with Apple CEO Tim Cook at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

The topic was, of course, Spotify and Apple Music, two of the major players in the streaming music market and fierce competitors. Cook said that he looks to music as inspiration and motivation, a philosophy that's shared at Apple and has guided its focus on human-based music curation.


"Music inspires, it motivates. It's also the thing at night that helps quiet me. I think it's better than any medicine," Cook said.

While he declined to mention Spotify by name, Cook told Fast Company that Apple worries about streaming music losing the human touch, alluding to Spotify's more algorithmic approach to highlighting content.
Cook's words embody Apple's longstanding critique of Spotify, which is that its algorithms are eroding music's spiritual role in our lives. Cook doesn't mention Spotify by name but says, "We worry about the humanity being drained out of music, about it becoming a bits-and-bytes kind of world instead of the art and craft."
Despite launching just three years ago, Apple Music has 50 million paid subscribers and free trial members, with the company slowly catching up to Spotify. At last count, Spotify said that it had 83 million paid subscribers around the world.

Apple has always had an edge over Spotify due to its massive 1.3 billion active installed base, and the fact that it's never needed to worry about profitability like Spotify has. "We're not in it for the money," Cook told Fast Company.

Ek, too, didn't mention Apple Music by name, but he said he believes Spotify has something going for it that other companies don't: a singular focus. "Music is everything we do all day, all night, and that clarity is the difference between the average and the really, really good," he said.

Spotify's dedication to music and music alone is what Ek believes will ultimately help the company beat Apple and expand the Spotify service in the future.

Competing with Apple was always Spotify's plan, says Ek, even before Apple Music. Apple dominated digital music downloads via iTunes in 2008 when Spotify launched, with Ek aiming to replace the iPod with on-demand music.

Competition with Apple and working within tight margins, Ek says, has driven Spotify to be more disciplined.

Despite industry complaints and criticism from Apple, Spotify has continued to focus on free music, which is how Spotify draws in new paying subscribers. After going public earlier this year, Spotify overhauled its free listening tier, offering new features that include on-demand playlists and a data saving mode, which were previously limited to paying subscribers.

Ek believes that there's money to be made with Spotify's free tier, with radiolike advertising options. "Billions of people listen to radio, and most of that today isn't monetized very efficiently," Ek said.

Going forward, in addition to working to expand revenue via its free tier, Spotify plans to focus on artists. Ek eventually wants to get 1 million artists to make a living off of Spotify, ultimately imagining something akin to YouTube where artists and listeners can interact.

For anyone interested in the inner workings of Spotify or how Ek operates, Fast Company's full profile of the founder is well worth checking out.

Article Link: Apple CEO Tim Cook on Apple Music: 'We Worry About the Humanity Being Drained Out of Music'
 

TimmeyCook

Suspended
Jun 20, 2018
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Apple has always had an edge over Spotify due to its massive 1.3 billion active installed base

So sick of this argument.

Because Spotify is not pre installed on gazillions of Android devices.

Because Spotify doesn't work on Alexa, Google Home and PlayStation (Xbox?)

Because Spotify didn't start to go after the carriers and made them pre install Spotify and zero rate their traffic.

Because Spotify isn't owned by the big boys in music (Warner, EMI and Universal).
 
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MLMcMillion

macrumors regular
Oct 8, 2012
106
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Arkansas, USA
Apple has always had an edge over Spotify due to its massive 1.3 billion active installed base, and the fact that it's never needed to worry about profitability like Spotify has. "We're not in it for the money," Cook told Fast Company.

Except for those of us who have gone back to Spotify because Apple Music has dismal recommendations.
 

19SK91

macrumors 6502
Aug 4, 2014
336
641
I personally never even use Apple Music's discover feature. I know the music I like and don't need Apple helping me find more.

I would actually like to use that feature to find more music that I like but unfortunately I always get the same recommendations. It‘s either music I already listen to or Hip-Hop/Rap which I hate. Disliking doesn‘t help either. I‘ve already deleted the handful Hip-Hop/Rap songs that were in my library, disliked every single Hip-Hop/Rap playlist and „Essential“ album and redid the „Choose Artists for You“ several times. Their Algorithms are just crap. They should work on them instead of saying "We worry about the humanity being drained out of music, about it becoming a bits-and-bytes kind of world instead of the art and craft.".
 

xalea

macrumors 6502
Jan 12, 2017
291
806
Maybe if they fixed the horrible mess that is the Apple Music app, more people would use it. All that flat, whitespace, "cards".. that's what happens when you have too many yes-men around and too much groupthink. Like no critical thinking went into that app whatsoever.
 

Slix

macrumors 65816
Mar 24, 2010
1,170
1,390
I'm still a firm believer that streaming music of any sort takes away the "humanity", and that includes Apple Music and Spotify and YouTube. Buying music means you own it and you directly support the makers of the music, and you can hold that collection at any time, anywhere, with service or not.

But what do I know, I still use my iPod classic and iPod nano just about every day. :p
 

iBreatheApple

macrumors 68030
Sep 3, 2011
2,669
505
Florida
I came here to blow your minds about how terrible Apple Music stations and "related music" are. A few weeks ago I took several screenshots of a station I created that played music from one end of the spectrum to another. We are talking 4-5 completely different genres and songs that are the complete antithesis of one another. I couldn't believe it. Unfortunately, I can't find these screenshots but I was thinking, "this is exactly why 85% of my music listening is done on Spotify." Apple music is subpar, in my opinion, humanity or not. - An Apple Fanboy
 

Brenster

macrumors 6502a
Jul 7, 2008
707
582
Love several of the curated classical playlists on Apple Music, both third and first party, and return to them regularly. Come across several fantastic pieces and performances that I’d have been unlikely to hear otherwise.

On the other hand, I’ll second the suggestions that no matter how little Like/Disliking I do, how my entire listening profile has never once included hip hop, contemporary pop or EDM, that my ‘For You’ always seems to include it.

All in though, Apple Music is right up there with Audible as my best value monthly subscription. I’ll forgo Netflix, Prime, NowTV etc before I forgo AM & Audible. What’s good about AM is great, just needs the rest improving and an understanding that the most popular music genres are not everybody’s favourite.
 
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KazKam

macrumors 6502
Oct 25, 2011
491
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Apple Music is good and all, especially for multiple accounts....but overall I miss the buying/library model overall. Knowing I owned the music. Now that I have been using it, it would cost way too much money to go back to the other model so I guess streaming is it.

This is exactly why I'm still not an Apple Music subscriber. I enjoy owning all the music I can listen to and not having a never ending subscription or a spotty internet connection holding my music hostage.

I get the convenience of having such a vast (though nowhere near comprehensive) music library at your fingertips, but the streaming/subscription model has partly, what I feel, taken the personal/curated/human quality out of listening to music.

And just like all these other cloud-based subscription services where you never actually "own" anything, as soon as you have no/poor internet, you have nothing; as soon as you stop paying for the tether, you have nothing.

That's not to mention, once you hand over the keys to Apple Music, what you can and can't listen to (through the service) is now completely at Apple's and the music labels' discretion. No thank you.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
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That's some nice lip-service Tim.

One of these companies is helping small musicians make a career out of it. The other is an inhuman monster that forces whatever is popular down everyone's ears.

Ek eventually wants to get 1 million artists to make a living off of Spotify, ultimately imagining something akin to YouTube where artists and listeners can interact.

As long as it doesn't resemble Ping (or whatever the current dumpster fire Apple is pushing on Apple Music), this sounds quite cool.
 

kodos

macrumors 6502
May 1, 2010
420
1,029
I started a 3 month subscription to Apple Music because I cannot store or stream music to my Apple Watch from Spotify (or can I, and I am dense?). I only want my Watch and AirPods when I go for my morning run.

I have found some interesting stuff in Apple Music's suggestions that I didn't get from Spotify. Though, I'd hazard a guess that there would be more suggestions in the opposite direction.

I wish I could stream AM to my Alexa speakers. This is part of the conundrum I have. Since my Watch is walled off from Spotify it is making me consider switching to Apple Music, which will involve me likely needing a HomePod. Oh noes.
 

Dougie Jones

macrumors newbie
Jul 31, 2017
23
17
The United States of Covfefe
Spotify's "Discover Weekly" is a nightmare for me - they create a playlist with tracks titels I can't even read because they are not in the Latin alphabet! Just wondering where the hell are those recommendations coming from: I never listen to Serbian or Chinese rap or something.
 
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