In the next few months, we’re likely to see streaming services begin to show some strain as the pipeline of new content dries up due to pandemic production delays. Ahead of this inevitable turn, Apple’s digging into the buzz bin to bring back the forgotten medium of set-it-and-forget-it music videos.
On Monday, the Cupertino giant launched Apple Music TV, a 24-hour curated stream of music videos. The service is exactly what it sounds like, it’s MTV by Apple. But at the moment, it’s totally free through the Apple Music and Apple TV apps, no subscription required. There aren’t even ads running between clips.
Variety broke the news this morning, and Apple did not immediately respond to comment. The trade pub reports that today’s launch is kicking off with a countdown of the top 100 all-time most-streamed songs in the U.S. on Apple Music, and it will periodically switch up its programming with video premieres, specials, and events. The first big event will be a Bruce Springsteen takeover on Thursday to celebrate the launch of the Boss’s new album.
The music video landscape has been dominated by YouTube and Vevo for years now. Apple’s one of the few companies out there with the music industry relationships and platform reach to make an impact in the space. But the question is whether people are hungry for an experience that’s more like cable television or traditional radio. There are no genre categories, curated playlists, or search functions. What you see is what you get.
It’s possible that Apple could be using this as a simple test to see how much demand is out there for a music video service before it offers more options. Or maybe it just wants to give those hard-to-get subscribers a reason to go into the Music and TV apps for a look around.
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Whatever the long-term direction, Apple has a new thing for you to throw on in the background, and we’ll take what we can get.