Apple has announced that it has dropped its artist-centric social platform which started life in 2012 under the name “Itunes Ping”. The feature allowed artists to make posts to their fans in a social media fashion but even the biggest artists hardly used it.
Support for the service has now been dropped and no new posts from artists are being accepted.
Here's the full announcement;
We’ve made a few changes to Apple Music that we’d like to tell you about.
We’re always looking for ways to enhance our focus on artists and help them better connect to fans. So we’ve given Artist Pages an all-new design and added new, personalized Artist Radio.
Today we’re streamlining music discovery by removing Connect posts from Artist Pages and For You. This means you’ll no longer be able to post to Connect as of December 13, 2018, but all previously uploaded content will still be searchable until May 24, 2019. You can still create Artist Playlists with the latest version of Apple Music.
Initially, Apple Music Connect was flooded with artist posts but that quickly died off and it's been pretty sparsely used since. The aim was to provide a direct channel for artists to talk to fans, kind of like a social network for artists.
Social media networks as a whole have been struggling to connect artists with fans directly. Organic reach of posts on Facebook, for example, is down to an estimated 1 percent or less and Instagram is seen as a social “image” network rather than a communicative platform. Great if you're a cat, fashion model or Paris Hilton.
At the same time, music streaming networks are struggling to understand the importance of super fans and how they can benefit from them. Tencent Music is the only music platform that appears to understand the importance of this.
Other smaller players are beginning to appear that see a gap in the market. Direct to fan social platforms such as BKSTG and GigRev appear to be making big moves in this arena. There appear to be two models forming; Individual social media and music apps for artists, with the most successful appearing to be GigRev, and “multi-artist” apps that give access to multiple artists in a single app like BKSTG.
It will be interesting to see how these platforms grow with the backdrop of Apple giving up, Facebook's fall from, grace and the closure of Google Plus.