Apple Music, launched with fanfare on June 30, is noticeably absent from the Apple TV. When you visit the Music app on the Apple TV, there is still a tab for iTunes Match, which is all but invisible in iTunes and on iOS. But nothing about Apple Music. It’s as though Apple forgot about the Apple TV.
Or maybe they have bigger plans and they got delayed. Zac Clichy, writing on his blog, suggests that it will be the new MTV:
I believe it will be video centric. Music videos. iTunes Festival. Live camera streams of Beats 1 DJ’s. Perhaps even entirely new live content.
It’s clear that video is going to be a part of Apple Music – you can already view music videos, if you can find them – but will Apple try and make a new MTV? I don’t buy the idea of live streams of DJs, but they do already have the iTunes Festival, and could certainly add more.
How about pay-per-view concerts? The Grateful Dead’s final-reunion concerts set a record for paid live streams of concerts with 175,000 people paying $80 for the series. (That’s a gross of $14 million.) I saw the final show in a cinema here in the UK, the next day (because of time zone differences), and attendance was sparse, because the Grateful Dead are not well known here. But after the concert, I started wondering why other bands haven’t done the streaming-to-cinema thing for live concerts.
“Event cinema,” which includes plays, classical concerts, operas, and more, is quite a big thing in the UK, but it hasn’t really taken off in the US. Imagine if you could stream these events over an Apple TV instead of having to go to a movie theater. How about a Rolling Stones concert, or one by Taylor Swift? You’d get lots of people willing to spend, say, $20 to watch one. Or how about a festival pass to Bonnaroo or Glastonbury (whose concerts are almost all filmed, with many broadcast on the BBC), allowing you to watch live, and to stream the concerts later?
Apple was due to update the Apple TV hardware, but this has been delayed. This could explain the fact that Apple Music is not present. But there has also been lots of talk about Apple trying to patch together some sort of video streaming service for the Apple TV, and Apple Music may be a part of that, though with more images together with the music.
Update: With the release of the Apple TV 4th generation, you can obviously access Apple Music. But it’s still not available on the 3rd generation Apple TV, and my guess is that it never will be. Apple is too invested in getting the new hardware into the hands and living rooms of users to want to support the older model. This is foolish, because many people who have no need for the new device could be tempted to subscribe to Apple Music if they can use it in the living room.