Digital Music

How iTunes Chooses Feature Artists

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With the announcement that iTunes has added an Indie Spotlight landing page for independent music, Hypebot readers wanted to know how Apple chose which artists to feature. To got the inside scoop, I talked to the former digital chief of an established indie who describes a process refreshingly different from the "pay for placement" that dominates brick and mortar retail.

Itunes indie
"The process is nearly entirely editorial and curated by country by true music lovers," said the former indie executive who prefers to remain anonymous.

"As a 'major indie' I was given an indie-specific contacts for the USA, Canada, Europe, Asia and Oceana. I then promoted my releases to them, often times highlighting special content and exclusives. Generally this “tit” produced a “tat” where my releases were considered for genre page, SOTW, or spotlight treatment. Sometimes their picks of my content were my priorities, sometimes they were just good music," he continued.

"Timing was crucial, content / metadata delivery was crucial, relationship was crucial, easy collateral access was crucial, and the music was prime. The editors would then take their favorites to a weekly meeting and the table would select the final batch.

"With our highest profile releases, we had explicit conversations about what exactly would be delivered by supplying exclusives. But this didn’t occur often.Only once in four years did I have a release that Cupertino dictated the promotion level to the other stores. I assume the Majors have that type of conversation with the Major-editors every week."

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4 Comments

  1. Thanks for the follow up Bruce. Exactly why I continue to come back to this site. Good to know that iTunes, “Song of the Week”, is chosen diplomatically and not based on MDF. Good music and great relationship are obtainable among indies. 60K for song placement is not..

  2. it’s good that the fruit company is giving the independent artist some much needed visibility above the fray…oh, they’re on a major sorry…then there are the other 99.9999999999% of the musical artists who will never get placement as described above….which is why they have to promote themselves in a way that can create a foundation upon which layers can be placed…higher and higher with each and every action..creating greater sustainable visibility…there’s good in all of it…some is just a matter of hard work everyday…whenever possible….not once every four years.

  3. Hi Bruce,
    I’ve created a Typepad account so you can see who I am.
    I enjoy breaking industry news, music app reviews and your insider analysis. In a nutshell, I’d like to see more of the same.
    Hats off for asking what your readers want to see. Keep up the good work!
    Kevin English

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