Apple Music has been embarking on a discrete transition of leadership leaving Oliver Schusser at the top. He is taking over for Jimmy Iovine, and in a new profile by Billboard, outlines what he envisions the music service to be and some of the inner workings of it.
One of the most interesting is that Apple Music still puts great importance on human curated playlists as oppose to going all in on algorithms. That's not to say Apple Music doesn't use them, just not to the degree that Spotify does.
"You hear Tim talk a lot about humanity—how we're at the crossroads between the liberal arts and technology," says Oliver Schusser. "It's got to be both."
He continues talking about the topic:
[As he explains] why the service he oversees hasn't gone all-in on algorithms. "That's just not the way we look at the world," continues Schusser. "We really do believe that we have a responsibility to our subscribers and our customers to have people recommend what a playlist should look like and who the future superstars are."
For a service like Apple Music that now has over 60 million paying subscribers with countless playlists, it'd be easy to just give control of these playlists to algorithms, but then they lose that human touch of which Apple puts great importance on. It's a big reason why Apple's products and services have connected with users to such personal degree.
The profile goes on to examine his big task on hand of leading Apple Music and other content services as a time Apple is pivoting strongly towards them.
As vp of Apple Music and vp international content for Apple, Schusser took on an arduous task: running the company's most important online service at a time when iPhone sales are slowing and the company's online businesses are becoming increasingly important. (In addition to Apple Music, his purview includes iTunes, the App Store, Apple Books and podcasts.)
So far, Apple's services seem to be doing extraordinarily well as it leverages its iPhone, iPad and Mac products to spread the reach of its new services.
Schusser has a big task on hand that will only get harder with time. Apple Music has been the fastest growing music service, but that's slowing down now. Amazon Prime Music has siphoned off some of its growth as the third major player in the streaming music market.
Apple Music is still doing its part to stand apart with revamped playlists, new segments to show off little known music and more partnerships that makes the service more accessible to users.