Apple Music will livestream concerts, starting with Harry Styles

The show is the first in a series of events called Apple Music Live.

Kevin Mazur via Getty Images

Apple Music will start livestreaming some concerts from major artists this week as part of a new series. Apple Music Live kicks off with a Harry Styles show that subscribers in 167 countries will able to watch live and at no extra cost on May 20th. The company says Apple Music Live is a way to "give the biggest stars in music the biggest possible platform to flaunt how they connect with audiences and how their songs translate to live performance."

The concert takes place at UBS Arena in Long Island, New York. It's effectively a record release party for Styles, whose third album, Harry's House, comes out on the same day. Apple Music's landing page for the event includes an interview with Styles about the making of the album, a link for users to pre-add Harry's House to their library and a bunch of playlists focused on the performer.

This seems like a smart way for artists to both promote new releases and give people a sense of what their live shows are like to perhaps sell some more tickets. It could also help Apple Music persuade fans of artists whose shows it streams to sign up for the service.

Styles' gig, titled "One Night Only in New York," will be available to stream at 9PM ET on Friday. So that folks in other parts of the world can catch the show at a more reasonable time, there will be encore streams on May 22nd at noon ET and May 26th at 5AM. That suggests the concert won't be available on demand afterward. When asked by Engadget for clarification on that, an Apple spokesperson said the company had "nothing to announce at this time."

Several other platforms have streamed live shows to viewers. YouTube has broadcast performances from Coachella over the last several years. As it happens, Styles was one of the festival's headliners this year. Hulu just inked a deal to stream the Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits music festivals this year and next. Amazon Music has baked in artists' Twitch streams, while Amazon has streamed live shows on a ticketed basis and offered them to Prime Video subscribers afterward.

Apple has some experience in livestreaming concerts too. In 2007, it started running the iTunes Festival (later known as the Apple Music Festival) in the UK before expanding it to the US in 2014. Apple announced in 2017 that the festival had come to an end.

Update 5/17 11:10AM ET: Added Apple's response.