Billboard Profiles Oliver Schusser, the Head of Apple Music

by

Oliver Schusser, who now heads up Apple Music, recently sat down with Billboard to give some insight into how ‌Apple Music‌ works and his plans for ‌Apple Music‌'s future.

Schusser, who has been with Apple for 15 years, was promoted to Head of Global Operations for ‌Apple Music‌ back in April 2018, reporting directly to ‌Apple Music‌ chief Eddy Cue.

oliverschusser
At a time when there was internal strife over Jimmy Iovine's move to an advisory role and stress over slowing iPhone sales, Schusser was responsible for dissolving the "internal divide of the Iovine era" and bringing renewed energy to ‌Apple Music‌, according to sources that spoke to Billboard. From Rachel Newman, global senior director of editoral at ‌Apple Music‌ and one of Schusser's employees:

"He knows more about most people's teams than they do themselves, in a good way. He knows people's birthdays. He just has the capacity to deal with the human side of being a leader, as much as he does the strategic and commercial sides. That is what makes him phenomenal."

When he took over ‌Apple Music‌, Schusser appointed trusted confidantes to lead new ‌Apple Music‌ initiatives and he created new editorial, artist relations, and music publishing divisions to "take better advantage of Apple's long-standing artist relationships."

He also aimed to introduce updates to ‌Apple Music‌ more frequently, debuting top 100 charts and new personalized playlists over the course of the last year, and he established partnerships with American Airlines, Verizon, and Amazon to boost subscriber growth. Record labels are happy with the changes that Schusser has implemented, and have called Apple more open and engaging under his leadership.

One thing that's not changing is Apple's focus on curation. Apple is at the "crossroads between the liberal arts and technology," says Schusser, and it's important to have a human element when it comes to recommendations.

"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."

Schusser says that he is optimistic about the future, and that Apple is "feeling really good" about where the service is today, four years after it launched.

Other people have had a lot more experience, a lot more time to test things and to learn, and we've caught up really fast. We look at ourselves as an artist-first company, and we want to be the best partners for labels, publishers and songwriters. We're working with the product and engineering team on our vision and the future for the product. If you do all of these things, the rest will follow."

Billboard's full profile on Schusser can be read over on the Billboard website.

Top Rated Comments

Mactendo Avatar
20 months ago

it's important to have a human element when it comes to recommendations.

"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."

Curation can be a good and bad thing, depending on who curators are. It looks like there are too many rappers and hip-hoppers in those future superstars.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Brenster Avatar
20 months ago

Curation can be a good and bad thing, depending on who curators are. It looks like there are too many rappers and hip-hoppers in those future superstars.

I’m assuming Shusser is at least in part responsible for bringing Deutsche Grammophon classical label on board last year to curate their own content and playlists, which has been an ongoing joy to explore and listen. Whilst, yes, the Browse section of Apple Music is overwhelmingly urban/hip hop and the like, there are some fantastic curators for other genres on the service.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rojaaemon Avatar
20 months ago
This is very helpful, because when I ask Siri "Who heads up Apple Music?" the reply is "I don't know what you mean by 'Who heads up Apple Music.'"

And when I ask "Who is the head of Apple Music?" the reply is "Tim Cook is the CEO of Apple."
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
funandblindness Avatar
20 months ago

Curation can be a good and bad thing, depending on who curators are. It looks like there are too many rappers and hip-hoppers in those future superstars.

This is an old and tired argument. Hip hop and rap are very popular genres. Spend a little time interacting with Apple Music and it will never show you Kanye or Drake again.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Classie Avatar
20 months ago
Really love the part about him knowing birthdays and other personal things - it’s great working for someone how cares
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mactendo Avatar
20 months ago

This is very helpful, because when I ask Siri "Who heads up Apple Music?" the reply is "I don't know what you mean by 'Who heads up Apple Music.'"

And when I ask "Who is the head of Apple Music?" the reply is "Tim Cook is the CEO of Apple."

- Siri, what's the weather going to be like today?
- Tim Cook.
- Siri, what are you tal...
- Tim Cook.
- Siri, where's...
- Tim Cook.
- Siri, when...
- Tim Cook.
- Siri!
- Tim Cook.
- Tim Cook?
- Tim Cook.

:D

Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

magsafecasedangle

Apple Elaborates on Potential for iPhone 12 and MagSafe Accessories to Interfere With Implantable Medical Devices

Saturday January 23, 2021 2:42 pm PST by
Since the launch of iPhone 12 models in October, Apple has acknowledged that the devices may cause electromagnetic interference with medical devices like pacemakers and defibrillators, but the company has now shared additional information. Apple added the following paragraph to a related support document today:Medical devices such as implanted pacemakers and defibrillators might contain...
Top Stories 44 Feature

Top Stories: 'Thinner and Lighter' MacBook Air, Smaller iPhone 13 Notch, iOS 14.4 Incoming

Saturday January 23, 2021 6:00 am PST by
We continued to hear a lot more about Apple's plans for its Mac lineup this week, including word of a high-end redesigned MacBook Air and the return of an SD card slot as part of the upcoming MacBook Pro redesign. It also sounds like Apple has been working on Face ID for Mac, but it won't be appearing in a redesigned iMac this year as originally planned. This week also saw rumors about the...
bloodoxygenapplewatch

Apple Watch Series 7 Rumored to Feature Blood Glucose Monitoring

Monday January 25, 2021 5:05 am PST by
The Apple Watch Series 7 will reportedly feature blood glucose monitoring via an optical sensor, according to ETNews. The report, which mainly focuses on the blood glucose capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, explains that Apple is intending to bring blood glucose monitoring to the upcoming Apple Watch Series 7 using a non-invasive optical sensor. Measuring blood glucose levels,...
maxresdefault

Microsoft Touts Surface Pro 7 as 'The Better Choice' Over MacBook Pro in New Ad

Saturday January 23, 2021 11:02 am PST by
Microsoft yesterday shared a new ad on YouTube titled "Microsoft Surface Pro 7: The Better Choice," in which the company compares its tablet computer to Apple's 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro, as spotted by MSPoweruser. The ad highlights the Surface Pro 7's touchscreen and included stylus as opposed to only a "little bar" (the Touch Bar) on the MacBook Pro. Other advantages of the Surface Pro 7...
airpods galaxy buds comparison

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Apple AirPods Pro

Friday January 22, 2021 2:34 pm PST by
Samsung in January unveiled new flagship Galaxy S21 smartphones and alongside the new phones, introduced the $200 Galaxy Buds Pro, which are priced at $199 and offer Active Noise Cancellation. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. These new Galaxy Buds Pro are clearly designed to compete with Apple's AirPods Pro, so we thought we'd compare the two sets of earbuds in our...
2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Bloomberg: Next MacBook Pro to Feature SD Card Reader

Friday January 22, 2021 7:50 am PST by
Last week, reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlined his expectations for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models later this year, including the return of the MagSafe charging connector, the removal of the Touch Bar, a new flat-edged design, and the return of more ports built into the notebooks for expanded connectivity. A concept of a modern MacBook Pro with an SD card reader Kuo did not...
time to walk apple watch

Apple Fitness+ Feature 'Time to Walk' Launching Soon With Audio Stories From Special Guests

Saturday January 23, 2021 7:13 pm PST by
Earlier this week, Apple seeded the watchOS 7.3 Release Candidate, which is typically the final beta version of a software update. The release notes for the update list a new "Time to Walk" feature for Apple Fitness+ subscribers, described as "an audio experience in the Workout app where guests share inspiring stories as you walk." Apple Fitness+ subscribers will be able to open the Workout...
Flat MacBook Air Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on 'Thinner and Lighter' High-End MacBook Air With MagSafe, Could Launch in Second Half of 2021

Friday January 22, 2021 3:34 am PST by
Apple is working on a "thinner and lighter" version of the MacBook Air that the company plans to release during the second half of this year at the earliest or in 2022, according to a new report by well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. It will include Apple's MagSafe charging technology and a next-generation version of the company's in-house Mac processors. Apple has discussed...
q4 2020 mac growth feature

Mac Sales Skyrocketing After M1 Launch

Tuesday January 19, 2021 3:00 am PST by
Apple's worldwide Mac shipments grew massively in the fourth quarter of 2020 after the launch of three new Macs with the M1 chip, according to new PC shipping estimates shared by Gartner. Apple shipped an estimated 6.9 million Macs, up from the 5.25 million it shipped at the same time in 2019, marking significant growth of 31.3 percent. In spite of the growth of Mac sales, Apple remained...
apple time to walk apple watch airpods 01252021 inline

Apple's New 'Time to Walk' Feature Launches Today for Fitness+ Subscribers

Monday January 25, 2021 6:30 am PST by
Apple today officially introduced Time to Walk, a new feature for Apple Fitness+ subscribers with audio stories from influential people that Apple Watch users can listen to with AirPods or other wireless headphones while walking. Time to Walk episodes will be automatically downloaded to the Apple Watch with a Fitness+ subscription, and users can start an episode directly from the Workout...