Anyone tuning in to watch Apple’s iPhone 7 event on Wednesday may have been mildly surprised and somewhat amused to witness Apple CEO Tim Cook taking part in a special episode of “Carpool Karaoke” along with Pharrell Williams.
Far from being an off-the-wall, last-minute inclusion, the video introduction makes sense for Apple, which recently purchased the segment from “The Late Show With James Corden”, to be distributed via Apple Music.
Apple has licensed 16 episodes of the show from CBS TV Studios, which will be executive produced by Corden and Ben Winston. The purchase is said to be seen as a way to drive online activity for the streaming music service, which Apple announced had reached 17 million paying subscribers as of yesterday.
That number compares with the 15 million users that Apple said the service had garnered by its 1st birthday on June 30, indicating a jump of 2 million subscribers in just two months, despite strong competition from rival services like Spotify.
The increased popularity of Apple Music is in stark contrast to Apple’s falling iPhone sales year-on-year, and highlights the company’s increasing reliance on profiting from existing customers through services rather than exclusively relying on acquiring new ones via hardware sales to meet its revenue targets.
It also indicates that while industry commenters have leveled plenty of criticism at Apple Music for perceived deficiencies in its interface design and functionality, customers are still signing up to the service at a steady rate, perhaps won over by the exclusive album releases by popular artists that Apple has recently secured.
In another boost for Cupertino, last week Apple Music for Android surpassed 10 million downloads from the Google Play Store, 10 months after it was released on the platform, proving that the service is becoming popular with listeners who don’t necessarily even own an Apple device.
With iOS 10, due to be released September 13, Apple is redesigning the Apple Music experience on its mobile platform, revamping the app with new organization and a new design.
by Tim Hardwick