Eddy Cue on iTunes Festival: 'It's All About the Artists and the Music'

For several years, Apple has put on a month-long concert series in London called the iTunes Festival. This year's series included performances from a number of artists, across a variety of genres, including Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Elton John, Ludovico Einaudi and many more.

Even with the huge success of the festival in London, Apple was hesitant to put on a similar series in the United States. This month, however, at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, Apple presented an iTunes Festival with a number of different artists including Willie Nelson, Soundgarden and Coldplay. Apple journalist Jim Dalrymple sat down with Apple's iTunes chief Eddy Cue to discuss the concert and why it took so long to bring it to the States.

iTunes Festival

"I wasn't sure we would ever bring it to the U.S.," Cue said. "We have something so special at the festival in London that you had the feeling that if you did it anywhere else, it just wasn't going to be quite good enough. You have to have the right place. The combination of Austin, which has a culture of music, and this venue is fantastic -- it's made for music."

Cue went on to note that Apple is "not trying to pitch our products", instead the company wants to focus on "the emotion of the artists and the fans."

Dalrymple says that it's not just the fans who like to enjoy the music -- after playing its opening performance, the band Imagine Dragons went offstage and then sat in the balcony to watch Coldplay, an atypical thing for a major musical act. Apple doesn't choose huge stadiums for its musical events, though it could probably sell out. Instead, Apple chooses small venues like the 2750-seat Moody Theater in Austin that it used at SXSW. It also gives away tickets for free, allowing all fans an equal opportunity to see their favorite acts, regardless of their ability to pay for tickets.

He also mentions the production behind the iTunes Festival, saying that the sound quality is the best he's ever heard at a live event. With concerts being streamed live around the world on iPhones, iPads and the Apple TV, quality is important. Cue says that Apple takes a lot of pride in the iTunes Festival because the company has "such an admiration for what the artists do."

Apple updated both the iTunes Festival iOS app and the companion Apple TV channel ahead of this week's iTunes Festival. On-demand streams of the Austin concerts will be available for a limited time, while concerts will also stream live through Saturday.

Tonight, Isaiah Rashad, ScHoolboy Q and Kendrick Lamar will appear, with Capital Cities, Band of Skulls and Soundgarden on stage on Thursday. Friday will see G.R.L, Zedd and Pitbull, with Mickey Guyton, Willie Nelson and Keith Urban wrapping up the festival on Saturday. The full lineup is also available on the iTunes Festival website.

iTunes Festival can be downloaded free from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
84 months ago
Apple arranges a week of concerts free to SXSW attendees and streams the whole thing to iDevices for free and still people complain.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
84 months ago
barf

You couldn't pay me to watch those "artists".
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
84 months ago
Audio quality may be awesome at live event, not so much from iPhone's speakers.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
84 months ago
If I were in Austin, I would like to see Coldplay in person.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
84 months ago

You couldn't pay me to watch those "artists".


Let me guess, you only listen to underground stuff like the Beatles or Queen? :rolleyes:
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
84 months ago
'It's All About the Artists and the Music'... Apple is "not trying to pitch our products"

yeah right...

Nothing lamer than a cut-throat business trying to appear as a philanthropist.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Announces New 27-Inch iMac With 10th-Gen Processors, Up to 128GB RAM, 1080p Webcam, True Tone, and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 8:07 am PDT by
Apple today announced a new 27-inch iMac with faster 10th-generation Intel Core processor options, next-generation AMD graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, a higher-resolution 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, a T2 chip, higher fidelity speakers, studio-quality microphones, and more. A breakdown of the new 27-inch iMac's features and specs:10th...

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

Everything New in iOS 14 Beta 4: Apple TV Widget, Search Improvements, Exposure Notification API and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 11:14 am PDT by
Apple today released the fourth developer betas of iOS and iPadOS 14 for testing purposes, tweaking and refining some of the features and design changes included in the update. Changes get smaller and less notable as the beta testing period goes on, but there are still some noteworthy new features in the fourth beta, which we've highlighted below. - Apple TV widget - There's a new Apple TV...

Apple May Launch This Year's 'iPhone 12' Lineup in Two Stages, With 6.1-inch Models Debuting First

Monday August 3, 2020 3:14 am PDT by
Apple last week confirmed that its "‌iPhone‌ 12" launch will be delayed this year due to the ongoing global health crisis and restrictions on travel. Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later," suggesting a release sometime in October. We're expecting a total of four OLED iPhones in 5.4, 6.1, and...

Apple Explains Why You Might See 'Not Charging' When a Mac is Plugged In

Monday August 3, 2020 1:42 pm PDT by
If you have a Mac and have seen a "Not Charging" warning when plugging it in to power, Apple last week released a support document that explains why. Macs running macOS 10.15.5 or later have a Battery Health Management feature to preserve the life of the battery, and occasionally, the Battery Health Management option will cause the Mac to pause its charging for calibration purposes.Depending ...

Supposed iPhone 12 Display Unit Leaks

Thursday August 6, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
An image supposedly of an iPhone 12 display unit has been shared online by leaker "Twitter user Mr. White". Compared to images of an iPhone 11 Pro display piece, this new unit has a reoriented display connector, reaching up from the bottom of the display, rather than from the left-hand side on iPhone 11 Pro. This may be due to the logic board moving to the other side of the device. A...

Google's $349 Pixel 4a vs. Apple's $399 iPhone SE

Wednesday August 5, 2020 1:45 pm PDT by
Google this week launched its newest smartphone, the $349 Pixel 4a, a low-cost device that's designed to compete with other affordable devices like Apple's iPhone SE. We picked up one of the new Pixel 4a smartphones and thought we'd check it out to see how it measures up to the iPhone SE, given that the two devices have such similar price points. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel ...

Apple-Acquired Dark Sky Officially Shuts Down Android App

Saturday August 1, 2020 3:43 pm PDT by
Apple in March purchased weather app Dark Sky, and at that time, Dark Sky's developers said that the app's Android version would be discontinued on July 1, 2020. However, instead of shuttering the app on that date, the app's developers announced that the discontinuation would be delayed for another month. Now that it's August, Android users are no longer able to access the app, and...

Samsung Launches Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Z Fold 2, and Galaxy Buds to Compete With Apple's iPhones and AirPods Pro

Wednesday August 5, 2020 10:07 am PDT by
Samsung today held a virtual Galaxy Unpacked event where it unveiled its next-generation smartphones that will compete with Apple's 2020 iPhone lineup, set to come out in the fall. Samsung announced the launch of the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, the two newest devices in the Note lineup, and, more notably, the Galaxy Z Fold 2, Samsung's latest foldable smartphone. The...

Alleged 'iPhone 12' Images Depict Circular Array of Magnets in Chassis

Wednesday August 5, 2020 4:39 am PDT by
New images shared on Weibo appear to show a circular array of magnets housed inside an "iPhone 12" chassis. The unverified images depict 36 individual magnets in a circular arrangement, suggesting they could be related to mounting or charging. EverythingApplePro, who shared the Weibo-originating images on Twitter, also posted an image of an alleged iPhone 12 case with a similar array of...