Apple x Music: It’s Bigger Than Beats
Though Beats Music was a no show at yesterday's big Apple event there were some musical moments. U2 promoted their new album giveaway via iTunes and Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon's voices (and hands) appeared in iPhone 6 ads. Apple's big day was mostly about new phones, the Apple Watch and iOS 8 but the announcement of Apple Pay is more directly relevant. With payments shifting to mobile, those who lead in that space, as Apple is likely to do, will become important players in much of the commerce at live events and festivals and part of the ecommerce puzzle as well.
U2 To Collaborate With Apple "On Some Cool Stuff"
Apple's obviously been about music since before the invention of Beats Music. So it's not necessarily surprising that a giant corporation didn't talk about a particular division at an event focused on phones and watches. But music was definitely present.
U2 was there promoting their "Songs of Innocence" album giveaway. Bono blogged about it and noted:
"We’re collaborating with Apple on some cool stuff over the next couple of years, innovations that will transform the way music is listened to and viewed. We’ll keep you posted."
That opens up some interesting possibilities though it wasn't part of the day's events.
Apple – iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus – TV Ad – Duo
Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon appeared via two iPhone ads featuring their hands and voices.
It was kind of musical.
Apple Pay Was The Biggest Music News
The biggest news for Apple wasn't music-related. The debut of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the upcoming launch of iOS 8 and the unveiling of the Apple Watch were important items that were mostly devoid of music news.
Apple's Apple Pay announcement doesn't mention music but its introduction as a mobile payment option is relevant.
Though Apple Pay will initially work only with iPhone 6's and Apple Watch, it represents a serious entry into the payments space. Potential users already have credit cards on file and Apple Pay will work with AmEx, Visa and Mastercard.
Lots of big retailers are on-board and it "will also work at the over 220,000 merchant locations across the US that have contactless payment enabled."
The announcement mentions numerous security benefits as well. I'm sure we'll hear more about these as they're tested in the wild but if Apple can offer safe, easy, mobile payments, they have the potential to take the lead in what will become a ubiquitous form of payment.
Though its immediate impact might not be felt by musicians, the move towards mobile payment systems are being developed at many festivals and will come into play for merch sales at live shows. So being able to sell things using Apple Pay may soon remove friction from such sales.
In addition, if Apple Pay becomes a leading payment system, their policies will ultimately affect you so there's that.
Here's more on Apple Pay’s Potential for Mobile Commerce.
Not Much Music News, Eh?
One of rock's great touring acts gives away a new surprise album to huge numbers isn't music news?
What about Justin Timberlake's hands and nebulous ties to a future world in which we point our phone at something and it's delivered by Apple to our front door when we get home?
But I expect something big from iTunes and Beats Music before long now that they've added those classic rock guys to the team.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) recently launched DanceLand. Send news about music tech startups and services, DIY music biz and music marketing to: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.