Tim Cook worries the music industry has become a giant labyrinth of algorithms.
Apple's CEO Tim Cook spoke with tech guru Bob Safian about the emergence of computerized methods in the music industry. He worries that streaming platforms not named Apple Music are too dependent on algorithms to generate music recommendation to consumers. Although he chose to remain "objective," we know he is referring to Spotify, Apple Music's closest competitor.
Apple Music was projected to surpass Spotify in U.S. premium subscribers in a report filed in July. The Apple-based interface relies more heavily on human curation than it does imaginary numbers. Without naming Spotify, Cook covertly described their methodology as the metrics of a "bits-and-bytes" world he does not subscribe to.
"We worry about the humanity being drained out of music, about it becoming a bits-and-bytes kind of world instead of the art and craft," said Cook. If you read into it further, Cook might also be passing judgement on songwriters and producers. Music becomes increasingly automated, producers have a more elaborate tool kit at their disposal.
Perhaps Cook is yearning for some golden rule that once existed. Apple is a tech company and music curation will always be an act convenience, make no mistake about it, even when undertaken by a team of human specialists. You risk losing agency or the ability to make discernible musical choices, if you don't follow your nose once in a blue moon.