Apple Music for Artists just got a significant upgrade. Apple announced the changes in an email to users, saying the company has "amped things up" and introduced new features to give users "the power to manage" their Apple Music content.
More specifically, Apple Music for Artists now includes a more robust and personalized content section as well as new ways to navigate the platform. So what exactly are they and what's still missing?
What Is Apple Music For Artists?
Apple Music for Artists is a backend analytics platform that specifically shows artists how they're performing on Apple Music. If you're familiar with Spotify for Artists, well, it's the Apple Music version of that.
The platform launched as a private beta in January 2018 and then to all artists in August 2019. While it shows a lot of similar metrics to platforms like Spotify for Artists and Amazon Music for Artists, Apple Music for Artists has a few key differences too. Those include showing "Shazam" metrics and downloads from the iTunes store.
The platform also includes more geographic data for artists. This means you can see all of the places around the world your music gets streamed — not just the top 50 cities, as is the case with Spotify.
Artists also use the platform for a few important "administrative" tasks. Those include updating your publicly facing image in the platform and inviting members of your team to see your data.
The New Stuff In Apple Music For Artists
Apple Music for Artists now has three main navigation tabs at the top of the page. There's "Measure," which is basically just what they're now calling all the existing analytics. And then there's "Artist Content," which is broken down into basically your catalog (music and music videos) and the "Artist Profile" section. Lastly, there's "Account," which is pretty much just where you add users.
Outside of the layout changes, the biggest updates come via the Artist Profile section. This is where you can finally start adding more personalization to your Apple Music for Artists profile.
In addition to updating your image, there's a place to add the individual members of your band, a place to list up to five musical influences, and a place to add collaborations with other artists.
Perhaps most interestingly, there's a "Q&A" section with five specific prompts you can answer (in 250 characters or less). Those include things like "Find a song of yours on Apple Music that you love and tell us what makes it special," and, "What's one of the most memorable moments in your career so far?"
It's a very interesting new space on the platform. It's also unclear if this information will actually show up in Apple Music or if it's just for the Apple Music team to get to know artists better.
What Still Needs To Be Better
The platform has come a long way since its inception. And the new additions allowing for more personalization and customization in the profile itself are a great touch.
But there's still a lot to be desired.
For one, Apple Music still doesn't allow for any sort of biography or photo gallery. You can't really highlight a release or do anything to have actual control of how your profile appears to users. Heck, you can't even change your genre — you're stuck with whatever it thinks you are, even if you classify yourself differently. Apple Music allows the least interaction with your public profile and listeners compared to platforms like Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube, and even Pandora.
The platform is also still missing some curious data points, like how many likes your songs receive. After all, listeners can "heart" a track and "love" an artist. This seems like key data that could easily appear in Apple Music for Artists. You also can't get any playlist data, which is frustrating.
The platform is also still a bit weird to navigate overall. Even calling the analytics tab "Measure" seems like a curious choice. You can see some "milestones" you achieve as an artist, but clicking on a milestone doesn't take you to a list of all your milestones — it just takes you to the "Trends" tab. And that's really just more data over time.
Overall, the platform continues to lurch forward in usability and features. But it doesn't match up to the typical user experience we've come to expect from Apple products just yet.
Do you still need it? Definitely. If you release music to Apple Music, you need to be sure you've claimed your Apple Music for Artists account.