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How Apple Regained Its Music Mojo

Three years ago, Apple looked like a music dinosaur. The company was reeling from the embarrassment of foisting upon iTunes customers digital copies of U2’s Songs of Innocence — an incident that laid bare Apple’s reliance on downloading at a time when the music industry was marching inexorably toward streaming. But Apple has regained its groove, and the purchase of irresistibly fun and popular music discovery app Shazam is but one indication.

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Apple could use Shazam to create personalized playlists right on HomePod, based on your listening habits and tastes. Apple Music already creates mixes that are pretty great, but Apple’s machine learning could use what it hears to create customized playlists for the time of day that only play in our homes. That alone could be a reason to spend $350 on a HomePod.

When Apple announced the HomePod, I speculated that the smart speaker could be Apple’s Death Star in the music streaming wars because of the device’s integration with Apple Music. Amazon already dominates the smart speaker market with the Echo, but Apple promises a high-fidelity experience for music aficionados. The HomePod may not need to sell big out of the gate to be a success. Apple can afford to appeal first to early adopters and improve upon the product gradually as it has done with the Apple Watch in the wearables category. In fact, HomePod becoming a cult favorite for music lovers would build Apple’s reputation as a brand that puts music first.

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Writer and pop culture lover.

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