In an interesting interview with Entertainment Weekly, Apple's Eddy Cue took some time to discuss Apple's iTunes Festival and the company's ambitions with respect to iTunes Radio, Apple's take on Pandora.
How do you gauge the success of something like the iTunes Festival? Is it audience reach? The level of artist that you get year after year?
You can't measure it through the sale of a product or song or any of that. It works by the fact that that we have all of these customers in the U.K. that want to come to it-with the 20 million ticket requests that we've had, the millions of people that watch it on their iOS devices, on Apple TV, and the Web. And that's always been growing on a year-to-year basis.
Notably, Cue explains that artists aren't paid for their performances at the festival. That, however, clearly hasn't stopped A-list performers from taking the stage. This year's festival featured artists ranging from Lady Gaga and The Lumineers to Kendrick Lamar and Elton John.
As for iTunes Radio, Cue not surprisingly relayed that for Apple the ultimate goal is to create quality music stations specifically tailored to the musical stylings of listeners.
One point of interest is that Cue said that Apple, going forward, may try and leverage streaming album premeires to help with promotional efforts.
This year, iTunes has been successful in converting streaming album premieres into impressive pre-orders and sales, how much influence did that have on iTunes Radio?
We're leveraging it. For example there's a Justin Timberlake album that's on iTunes Radio as of [last Thursday] for the first time, so the first time we ever premiered an album on there. We certainly knew we would leverage it for iTunes Radio but the primary key to iTunes Radio was to create it custom for you. When you're talking premiering song, what we're doing iTunes Festival-wise, we knew iTunes Radio was a perfect place for that so it's perfect alignment.
Just two weeks ago we reported that Apple has been looking to hire experts across a number of musical genres to ensure quality programming. On top of that, Apple has also been talking with music labels in an effort to attain their "heat seeker" lists which contain artists and songs that may be on the verge of blowing up.