Apple Music Renames 'The A-List: Alternative' Playlist to 'ALT CTRL' and Updates 'Essentials' With Cover Art Shot on iPhone

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Apple Music today released a new playlist called "ALT CTRL," which is a rebranded version of its previous "The A-List: Alternative" playlist. This list of songs includes alternative bands and is currently headlined by HAIM's new single, "Summer Girl" (via Billboard).


ALT CTRL's playlist art will showcase a new artist each week, starting with HAIM. The playlist includes artists like Twenty One Pilots, The Black Keys, Dominic Fike, Lana Del Rey, and Vampire Weekend.
"Alternative is more an attitude than a sound -- music that colors just a bit outside the lines. ALT CTRL, formerly known as The A-List: Alternative, is where you'll find the best of those new left-of-center tunes."
Apple has slowly been rebranding its "The A-List" playlists, which now also includes "The A-List: Hip-Hop" changing to "Rap Life" in July and "The A-List: Dance" changing to "danceXL" in March. Other playlists still categorized as "The A-List" include genres like Pop, Country, R&B, Christian, Classical, Bollywood, African, K-Pop, Telugu, Khaleeji, Mandopop, J-Pop, Russian Hip-Hop, and more.


Amid the ongoing rebranding of its A-List playlists, Apple has also updated a few "Essentials" playlists with new Shot on iPhone cover art. Artists include Lizzo; Travis Scott; Kacey Musgraves; Tyler, The Creator; Tierra Whack; IDLES; Leon Bridges; Skrillex; and CHAI.


Each playlist showcases an image of the artist shot on an iPhone on their tour, and some artist's profile images have also been updated with similar Shot on iPhone iconography, including Lizzo and Kacey Musgraves. Apple has highlighted a few artists in a similar fashion with its "Shot on iPhone on Tour" video series, including artists like Florence Welch and FKA Twigs.


Apple Music has continued to grow over the years, and in June the streaming music service was reported to have just over 60 million paid subscribers. Earlier this week Spotify reported on its own paid subscriber count, which broke 108 million globally in Q2 2019.

Article Link: Apple Music Renames 'The A-List: Alternative' Playlist to 'ALT CTRL' and Updates 'Essentials' With Cover Art Shot on iPhone
 

ocanalix

macrumors member
Sep 8, 2016
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For independent artists and small labels having their songs added to Apple's "The A-List: Alternative" felt like an achievement – a meaningful chart/list of sorts. "ALT CNRL" honestly just sounds like some user-made playlist on Spotify. I'm feeling this change will have a negative effect on music press directing toward Apple Music. It's not a big deal, and it's super subtle, but honestly it makes a difference.
 

PickUrPoison

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Sep 12, 2017
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Sunnyvale, CA
For independent artists and small labels having their songs added to Apple's "The A-List: Alternative" felt like an achievement – a meaningful chart/list of sorts. "ALT CNRL" honestly just sounds like some user-made playlist on Spotify. I'm feeling this change will have a negative effect on music press directing toward Apple Music. It's not a big deal, and it's super subtle, but honestly it makes a difference.
True; true; and I really don’t think so. Honestly not seeing it. I think the music press will be able to deal.
 
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cuwickliffe

macrumors member
May 8, 2014
58
155
While renaming playlists may help with some of their appeal, I find changing the consistent naming of these will push these playlists out of focus and make them look like all the others ... it's difficult enough to find decent quality playlists and filter out genres you don't care about based on names and descriptions Apple Music presently uses.
 
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LizKat

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2004
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They can call a playlist Alfie for all I care, as long as when I search AM for something they turn up what I was looking for. I really don't even pay attention to whatever is on their front page when I use Apple Music on my laptop. Still I think the idea of an ALT CTRL list is pretty cool. My wonderment would be how many artists landing in that list would be looking up what means 'CTRL' in some slang dictionary...
 

Johnny907

macrumors 6502a
Sep 20, 2014
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That’s nice. After happily cancelling my subscription last month, I don’t really care. Between Pandora finally coming to the Apple Watch and SiriusXM adding free app streaming for all subscribers I just felt no reason to give Apple another 120 bucks/year.
 

jona2125

macrumors 6502a
Jul 12, 2010
779
647
alt key has existed on the Mac since .... (don't really know, but for a very long time)

They started being labeled in the 90's and wasn't always consistent on what devices included it, it was just to allow simplicity when users transition between MacOS and Windows. They did remove the labeling from the latest keyboards however.

Mainly the comment was a joke that they would be adding a new key that would perform like the ALT key does which would be nice to have.
 
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iRutherford

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Oct 30, 2018
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That’s nice. After happily cancelling my subscription last month, I don’t really care. Between Pandora finally coming to the Apple Watch and SiriusXM adding free app streaming for all subscribers I just felt no reason to give Apple another 120 bucks/year.
You know you can get it for $100 if you subscribe annually.
 

Pakaku

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Aug 29, 2009
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I would have gone with ALT-F8, but I feel like that would fly over too many normal peoples' heads
 

Fzang

macrumors 65816
Jun 15, 2013
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Maybe it’s a subtle dig at the alt right, which must be controlled?
 

hagar

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2008
747
1,352
No link to the playlist in the article. I assume because that’s technically not possible. Apple Music often feels like a closed container. Joined playlists, sharing stuff, a social media aspect, links, push notifications, third party curators (which are no longer listed).... the service is ok, but there’s still so much missing.
 
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shadowbird423

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Sep 8, 2009
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For independent artists and small labels having their songs added to Apple's "The A-List: Alternative" felt like an achievement – a meaningful chart/list of sorts. "ALT CNRL" honestly just sounds like some user-made playlist on Spotify. I'm feeling this change will have a negative effect on music press directing toward Apple Music. It's not a big deal, and it's super subtle, but honestly it makes a difference.
True; true; and I really don’t think so. Honestly not seeing it. I think the music press will be able to deal.
Imagine this theoretical:

I am a member of the newish band "Funky Uncle" and one of our singles breaks out onto the alternative playlist. Here are the people I tell, in order:

1. My parents.
2. My friends.
3. My social media followers.

"The A List" makes it very clear that this was a big stepping stone for my band, especially because almost every genre had one. If you knew about Apple music playlists, you'd probably heard of it. That's good branding.

"ALT CTRL" just sounds like another playlist unless you already listen to it.

I think this is a big step back from a branding perspective.
 

PickUrPoison

macrumors 603
Sep 12, 2017
5,540
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Sunnyvale, CA
Imagine this theoretical:

I am a member of the newish band "Funky Uncle" and one of our singles breaks out onto the alternative playlist. Here are the people I tell, in order:

1. My parents.
2. My friends.
3. My social media followers.

"The A List" makes it very clear that this was a big stepping stone for my band, especially because almost every genre had one. If you knew about Apple music playlists, you'd probably heard of it. That's good branding.

"ALT CTRL" just sounds like another playlist unless you already listen to it.

I think this is a big step back from a branding perspective.
My comment was directed at OP’s claim the music press would somehow be negatively affected by the renaming.