Apple Music’s “Up Next” monthly editorial initiative is expanding internationally, having previously only been available in the United States.
According to Billboard, the artist promotion campaign is initially showcasing international artists in 11 countries.
Apple’s Marketing Muscle
In addition to the United States, Up Next is also available, or will soon be rolling out, in Canada, Australia, the UK, South Africa, India, France, Germany, Mexico, Russia, Japan, and China. In each of these markets, Apple is promoting new local artists—such as producer and artist Blxckie in South Africa, or rapper and singer Nicki Nicole in Latin America—who can gain the benefit of Apple’s sizable spotlight. Billboard notes that the artists will reap the rewards of Apple’s “marketing muscle in several ‘local’ regions.”
Apple Music’s Up Next feature is hand-curated by Apple Music editors. It is usually updated on Fridays. It offers a playlist of new and emerging artists. There are also nice touches like personalized stories and banners. In the past, Apple has given some of its artist picks for Up Next mini-documentaries tracking the artists’ journeys to the top, alongside information about their inspirations and influences. It has also staged interviews and live performances called “Up Next Sessions.”
Apple notes in its Up Next feature that its editors “update this playlist often, so if you hear something you like, add it to your library.” By doing so, Apple is trying to find new, non-algorithmic, ways of doing music recommendation, which can help give it an edge over rival services like Spotify.
While most streaming services offer similar catalogs of songs and albums, curated services such as this are one way Apple Music can differentiate itself from competitors.
A Subscription Selling Point for Apple Music
The Up Next feature of Apple Music is the spiritual successor to the iTunes New Artist Spotlight, which was launched during the mid-2010s. Both services are intended to cement Apple as tastemakers for helping break new musical acts around the world.
Apple Music launched more than five years ago in June 2015. Apple does not regularly release subscriber figures for the streaming subscription service. The last time it did, in June 2019, it had around 60 million subscribers around the world. In the United States, it is one of the most popular streaming music services, alongside its biggest competitor Spotify.
An Apple Music subscription costs $ 9.99/month for a single license, although other subscription options are available. Unlike Spotify, it does not offer a free tier for listeners.