The world's coolest device maker continues to stock up on tastemaking talent. Just a week removed from news that Apple had hired top British DJ Zane Lowe, Music Ally reports that the company has posted a job listing for an “editorial producer” responsible for music. According to the job description, the producer would be responsible not just for writing and editing but for “working collaboratively with business and content heads to shape and define editorially driven merchandising promotions.”
Apple, which has not commented on the listing, has been making moves that align with the ones that Beats Music was making when Apple bought that service along with Beats Electronics last year. Beats Music, which used to be called MOG, looked to differentiate itself by offering human-curated playlists and experiences on its platform rather than algorithm-generated ones.
"One night I'm sitting playing with [Beats Music] versus some others. And all of a sudden it dawns on me that when I listen to theirs, I feel completely different," Apple CEO Tim Cook told Charlie Rose.
Cook, along with the Beats leadership, sees curation as a way to stand out in a crowded field where its chief competitors have amassed tens of millions of paying subscribers. “Right now, these things are all utilities,” Beats Music boss Jimmy Iovine told Music Ally in 2013. “ ‘Give me your credit card, here’s 12m [sic] songs, and good luck.’ We don’t think that’s gonna stick.”
Apple would not be the first streaming music service to hire journalists. Spotify has its own in-house press team, as does Rhapsody. And many years ago, an iTunes rival called eMusic, which offered a subscription service filled mostly with independent releases, hired a robust team of music journalists to help users navigate its vast trove of smaller, lesser-known releases.
All of these moves are likely being made to minimize the tyranny of choice, a commonly cited problem facing services like Spotify and Rdio, whose multimillion-song catalogs can feel intimidating or difficult to navigate.