iOS 11 Apple Music Friends Are Listening To

1 July 2017

Zac Hall:

The new social feature starts from the For You tab right below the New Music and Favorites playlists. You can see albums, playlists, and stations played by friends you follow, and below that you can find friend recommendations for more people to follow.

Recommended music will show the avatar of the friend or friends who played it, and you can tap through to see links to their full profile as well. Using your real profile picture helps when names aren’t presented, and some users (Apple execs so far) even have verified profiles.

Behold, the first Apple social music attempt that isn’t going to be flop. Unlike Connect, this isn’t a clone of a Twitter or Facebook feed. The Music app passively records what songs are played and publishes the music as recommendations for other users to see and follow.

The recommendations appear in the For You tab, the same place Apple Music subscribers already check to discover new music to listen to. Aside from initial profile setup and finding friends, there’s not much to do … which is a good thing. People are going to use it because the barrier to entry is so low.

It’s appropriately lightweight. Connect and Ping failed because they built out an entire status feed system inside of Music, offering no benefit over the established social networks that people already use.

In the best case for Apple, an Apple Music member upgrades to iOS 11, finds some new music they like from what their friend was listening to, thereby extracting some additional value from their membership and makes them more likely to renew their subscription.

Despite being branded as what “Friends Are Listening To”, the service shows verified badges for well-known personalities. It will be interesting to see if Apple encourages music celebrities to join the service so users can follow along with the musical tastes of their favourite artists. In the beta, the badge can be seen on the Apple executives’ profiles. Amusingly, whilst Eddy uses his Twitter @cue handle, Phil Schiller has opted to be known as ‘technorambo’.