Apple Expands Editorial Focus With Music Hires

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Apple is sharpening its focus on editorial content by looking to hire people with a background in music and pop culture commentary.

It’s currently advertising for an editorial producer role, based in London, and the job ad specifies it’s looking for an individual with “a specific expertise in music journalism” who is a “seasoned writer with broad pop culture background” (as spotted via Music Ally).

The role will apparently be split 50:50 between production and editorial duties, with the latter including writing and editing/managing “a sea of freelancers”.

The job description reads:

iTunes is looking for an editorial producer with experience across pop culture and a specific expertise in music journalism. This full-time position is split between editorial and producing duties. The editorial duties focus on writing, editing, managing a sea of freelancers, and working collaboratively with business and content heads to shape and define editorially driven merchandising promotions. As far as producing, this role will also focus on special projects and promotions, making sure all parties understand the timelines and deliverables associated with getting these pages live, and making sure we execute flawlessly and on time.

The role also specifies that the individual should have “deep contacts in the freelance world with writers who can cover the spectrum of pop culture (music, movies, books, etc.)”.

“Writing lively copy with personality and verve that still adheres to the Apple brand”, is another specified requirement, along with working with colleagues “across different teams to identify and execute on future editorial priorities”.

Earlier this month long-time BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe revealed he was moving on from his decade+ with the corporation in London to take a job at Apple, relocating to Los Angeles.

Details on exactly what Lowe will be doing for Apple’s music team in Los Angeles are scant, as his role there has not yet been made public, but in an interview with The Guardian he talked up the global scope of the job.

“It’s about being able to get great music to an audience on a global level. I know that there is an opportunity to come out here and to build something that will reach parts of the world that I’ve never reached before,” he said.

Apple has recently been rumored (via 9to5Mac) to be building a new paid streaming music service, leveraging the technology of the Beats Music service — following its $3BN acquisition of Beats Electronics last May — to compete with the likes of Spotify and Rdio.

iTunes’ legacy downloads business has been left on the back foot while startups have pushed into subscription-based streaming. Back in 2013, Apple launched an ad-supported Internet radio service, iTunes Radio, in one reaction to market movements.

But it looks like Apple is preparing to relaunch its long-in-the-tooth iTunes store with a streaming music service at its core, and a strong editorial voice so it can foreground and showcase artists on the platform — via in-house written feature content — as well as offering consumption metrics and analytics for tracking sales.

Last month it emerged Apple had quietly picked up Musicmetric last year, an analytics service that helps record labels, artists and others track the digital consumption of their music, as well as also offering tracking for e-books, films, games and TV shows.

Apple finding its editorial voice looks like another instance of a technology platform seeking to morph into a media destination in its own right. See also: Netflix and Amazon producing original programming; Snapchat hiring journalists and dishing up ephemeral entertainment; and mobile messaging platforms, like Line, getting into kawaii cartoon franchises. Tech platforms flush with users (and revenues) are the new mass media, and the digital medium fast becoming the message.

But the question remains: what happens to editorial independence when the retail outlet is also the reviewer? Set this one to ‘Blurred Lines’…