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Follow-up to the Apple Funding Original Podcast story

Apple Music, indeed.

Yes, I’m aware of the possibility — perhaps even necessity — of framing that Bloomberg story within the context of Apple Music. (Shouts to Aaron Lammer, he of Longform and Cointalk fame, for being the first to jump into my DMs on this issue.) Next Tuesday’s newsletter is going to dig deep into that nexus, but a few quick-fire thoughts for now:

(1) Consider the following two headlines: “Apple to Fund Original Podcasts” vs. “Apple to Fund Original Apple Music Content.” Do they strike you as two different kinds of stories? Maybe… maybe not.

(2) Cherie Hu, who publishes Water + Music (part of the Hot Pod Newsletter Network!), made this point on Twitter, linking to this job posting: “If you look at the way Apple is hiring for its new marketing positions, they’re increasingly bundling music and podcasts together in the roles’ responsibilities — so it’s definitely a compete-against-Spotify play!”

(3) Been interesting to read through older pieces on Apple Music, in particular the stuff involving Beats 1. A sample:

  • Wired, from 2015: “Can Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre Save the Music Industry?”
  • BBC News, from 2015: “Apple Beats 1: Why is Apple bothering with radio?”
  • Recode, from 2015: “Apple Music’s Beats 1 Is Like Radio Before It Sucked.”
  • From the New York Times write-up, also around 2015: “Beats 1 is a high-tech twist on one of the oldest forms of electronic media. It is a fully programmed radio station, broadcasting with a complement of live D.J.s and even sponsors. But since it will be baked into every Apple mobile device as part of a new music app, it has the potential for a huge and instantaneous global reach.”
  • LA Times, from 2018: “Beats 1 streams in ‘more than 100 countries’… It’s a tidbit, however, that illustrates reach rather than actual customers. But it’s not without validity, as Beats 1 is reshaping broadcasting — it’s radio defined by the music distributor in service of converting listeners to subscribers and ultimately selling artists.”

(4) Not sure how related this is, but wanted to re-up just in case: remember last November, when there were reports of Apple maybe being interested in investing in iHeartMedia?

(5) Before we run too far into the Apple Music direction, a reminder: in the wake of iTunes’ retirement, Apple is still planning to spin out separate desktop apps for Apple Music and Apple Podcasts. The latter is also still expected to get some upgrades, including machine learning integration to better index podcasts and episodes, making them more easily searchable.

That’s it for now. I have a lot of reading to do.