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Apple’s Music Money Is Everywhere — Financed ‘Hotline Bling’ Video, Teaming with the Met, Dancing with Mary J. & Friends

Drake's "Hotline Bling" didn't just debut on Apple Music, it was financed by the tech goliath as its first attempt at original video content. TV as Apple Music

Drake‘s “Hotline Bling” didn’t just debut on Apple Music, it was financed by the tech goliath as its first attempt at original video content. According to Recode, the James Turrell-inspired clip, which spawned countless memes and even a Super Bowl ad, was the opening salvo of a larger plan by Apple not to become a Netflix-like content creator but to market something else dear to its heart: Apple Music.

The report states that Apple is financing occasional original content, like Drake’s “Bling” and Taylor Swift‘s 1989 World Tour Live, in order to promote or “extend Apple Music,” which has 11 million paid users at latest count. With a music video and a tour film under its belt, Apple’s next project is an original scripted series starring one of its own execs, Dr. Dre. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the six-episode series dubbed Vital Signs will roll out all at once, likely through Apple Music and possibly Apple TV.

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Dr. Dre Filming Apple’s First Scripted Television Series

So, rather than getting into the TV biz like Netflix and Amazon has — i.e., producing numerous originals to compliment bundles of third-party content — Apple appears to view video as a way to entice subscribers to its streaming music service. Because as Recode explains, “selling the occasional TV show to consumers or other networks isn’t a real business for a company Apple’s size.”

 

AMBIENT APPLE TEAMS WITH MET

Apple is sponsoring the exhibit that serves as the theme for this year’s Met Gala, so it’s not surprising that the music-loving company will provide the soundtrack. Titled “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology,” the exhibit opens May 5 (following the star-studded Met Gala three days earlier) but was previewed Monday (Feb. 15) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Anna Wintour Costume Center.

The show will feature 100-plus pieces of fashion, some made using new technologies like 3D printing, circular knitting, computer modeling, laser cutting and ultrasonic welding (you lost us at 3D printing). “Manus x Machina” is being co-chaired by Wintour, actor Idris Elba, Taylor Swift and Apple chief design officer Jony Ive. “Far from being mutually exclusive notions, we believe that technology and craft go hand in hand — much like beauty and utility — and become all the more powerful in combination,” Ive said in a statement to The Verge.

The exhibit’s curator, Andrew Bolton, said at the presentation that Apple Music would be in charge of the acoustic experience for visitors. The group’s choice of featured artist: ambient music master Brian Eno and, specifically, his 1978 release Music for Airports. “It was the first album created under the [ambient] label and coincidentally, was one of the first albums featured under Apple’s Beats 1 Radio,” Bolton said, according to OneWayEmpire.

Listen to Eno’s four-part masterpiece below:

 

MARY, TARAJI & KERRY REUNITE; A NEW TRIO DEBUTS

It’s hard to keep track of all the Apple Music commercials of recent months, but everyone remembers the one featuring Mary J. Blige, Taraji P. Henson and Kerry Washington, which aired during the Emmys in September. Keeping with that awards theme, the trio returned Monday night during the Grammys with an ad calling Apple Music the quintessential “Heartbreak Recovery Service.” After Blige speaks of the power of Adele‘s “Someone Like You” in helping you find closure with an ex, Washington presses play on Lauryn Hill‘s “Ex-Factor.” 

“That album gave me so much confidence, so much of a sense of myself. Music teaches you about how to feel,” the Scandal star says. Henson picks up from there, saying “There’s a song for everything. Theres a song for every moment in life.” Cue Gloria Gaynor:

“It takes a lot of courage to wish a man well…”Mary J.Blige, Kerry Washington & Taraji P. Henson ??http://apple.co/itsnotmeitsyou

Posted by Apple Music on Thursday, February 11, 2016

 

Also on Monday partners-in-sound Apple Music and Sonos unveiled a new minute-long ad featuring Killer Mike, Annie Clark (St. Vincent) and Matt Berninger of The National. In it the trio of critical darlings attack silence as the killer of creativity in their homes. “I don’t like silence in the home because it just feels dead,” says Mike. “Silence, that just doesn’t feel like a creative place to me,” Berninger adds. “Turning on music in your house is almost like turning on the lights in your house,” says Clark, who appears to be moving into a new home in the ad. Shots of Apple Music’s interface and Beats1 feature prominently throughout as well. Watch: