It seems Apple Music isn’t just about consumption. Not surprisingly, Apple’s own GarageBand/Logic family appear to figure into the company’s plans. Accordingly, GarageBand will get an update on June 30, the same day Apple Music (and Apple Music Connect) are scheduled for launch.
And for anyone who says the company is “abandoning” pros, here’s the less evidence that – at least from Apple’s perspective – the company sees the production and Mac markets as integral to their global consumer domination.
First, we now have a pretty clear image of where Camel Audio and its Alchemy synth have wound up. As expected, it’s resurfacing as an Apple instrument. Apple themselves have revealed that on the refreshed GarageBand page. Updates there are minor, but there’s a clear view of the UI from Alchemy, reimagined as Apple’s Smart Controls layout. Apple Insider breaks that news (oddly beating us in the music tech realm).
Apple isn’t shy about the markets they’re going after, with several mentions of “EDM‑ and Hip Hop‑inspired synth sounds.” Yep, that’ll be the two fast-growing (especially American) markets. (“Hey, I hear you kids love your E.D.M. and The Hip Hops, so here you go! Do you want a nice cold lemonade?”) It’s yet another tragic example of Cupertino failing to heed CDM’s long-standing advice that I.D.M. will be the next big thing – did you catch that Aphex Twin? Or Richard Devine’s Instagram following? But I digress.
If this instrument is in GarageBand, it’s a safe bet it’ll show up in Logic, too, presumably with more controls. And an iOS app could be possible, too, especially as Camel had one under development. While Emagic, and by extension Apple, once reportedly boasted the largest stable of music developers anywhere, my guess is it was easier with Apple’s cash supplies to simply buy the talent and product they needed wholesale, augmenting the team already working on the apps.
So, where does this fit into Connect? Well, it at least shows where Apple’s priorities lie. Apple went out of its way to show artists in its WWDC presentation on Apple Music, though. And in contrast to Tidal’s presentation (Daft Punk is starting a revolution in music so Daft Punk gets paid), they also made the image of those artists the bedroom producer. In fact, they showed bedroom producers and not labels. That message ought to be clear.
Writer Kirk McElhearn suggests Apple Music Connect integration may come with that June 30 update. (Sounds a safe bet, unless it’s just a matter of the GarageBand and Apple Music teams holding a joint BBQ/picnic on that date.)
That’s in keeping with Apple past strategy. When the company was pushing podcasts, they made GarageBand the app anyone could use to contribute content. So now, GarageBand could be the creation tool to populate music on Connect. Export to Connect, for Apple Music songs or exclusives for your social network — maybe both? Seems a no-brainer, actually. For now, the GarageBand page shows only SoundCloud export, but, sorry SoundCloud, Apple may be coming for you.
Now, this would normally be where I’d possibly pull back and issue some dire warnings about lock-in or walled gardens or the Apple ecosystem. But frankly, Apple may need to be this aggressive to make any in-roads at all. Like it or not, “EDM” right now often means tools like Ableton Live, and “Hip-Hop” things like Native Instruments Maschine. Apple will need a diverse variety of artists using a variety of tools, as it always had. And I don’t expect Apple Music will overtake Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud, Spotify, YouTube, and all the rest of the places artists need to share content.
No, I think it’ll take everything Apple’s got to attract artists alongside these other tools, to make a play for the growing population of people making music worldwide. And so these moves make sense.
But I think it’s important to note just how deeply in the DNA of the modern Apple is this notion that the company wants to be involved in how you make and listen to music. We’ve seen occasional, fleeting glimpses of efforts to do that from the likes of Sony and Microsoft, but Apple is the company that consistently pulls it off. You don’t have to love that – indeed, it might well be worth criticizing. But you do have to consider it as a major element of the music technology landscape today.
Apple Music Connect
Also, “Epic Hook Synth” puts me in the Pirates of the Caribbean.