Skip to main content

Google’s Eric Schmidt Throws Shade at Apple Music’s ‘Elitist’ Strategy

Google founder Eric Schmidt made a thinly veiled dig at one of his company’s rivals, Apple, in a recent op-ed for the BBC. Asked how he envisions artificial intelligence being applied to solve real-world challenges in the future, the ex-Google (now Alphabet) CEO said software companies need to ditch “elitist” taste-making processes and embrace machine learning.

His core example reeked of Apple’s recently launched music streaming service, which embraces a mix of human-curation and various algorithms to determine what people should listen to. 

“A decade ago, to launch a digital music service, you probably would have enlisted a handful of elite tastemakers to pick the hottest new music,” he said. “Today, you’re much better off building a smart system that can learn from the real world – what actual listeners are most likely to like next – and help you predict who and where the next Adele might be.”

Ian Rogers on Leaving Apple Music to Lead Digital for Luxury Brand Group LVMH: ‘I Want to Grow’

Taken plainly, Schmidt basically described Apple’s current strategy as being ten years out-of-date. Apple Music has a team of tastemakers, like Zane Lowe and his Beats1 crew, who help curate the service.

He argues that data-driven curation would be a “much less elitist taste-making process” for a music service and “much more democratic” in that it would allow “everyone to discover the next big star through our own collective tastes and not through the individual preferences of a select few.”

Read Schmidt’s BBC op-ed here.