It’s official. The Apple Music Festival has come to an end. Throughout the years, the event formerly known as the iTunes Music Festival had a major impact on breaking new artists and attracting eyes to the iTunes platform.

Recent changes in the world of music festivals along with Apple’s own approach to music marketing has meant doing away with the festival. Though Apple still intends to engage on one-off live shows now and again, the company does not intend to emphasize live music on its platform.

What was the Apple Music Festival?

In late summer and early fall, from the year 2007 through to 2016, Apple held a monthly music event in the UK which became known in the industry as the ‘iTunes Music Festival’. Performances were streamed live on all platforms and it was a major feature of iTunes for a long time. It proved to be so popular over the years that as iTunes eventually became Apple Music, so did the event when it changed its name to the Apple Music Festival.

Some of the biggest names in music have headlined the Apple Music Festival including rock legends, folk icons, pop acts, the world’s top DJs, and critically acclaimed hip hop artists including most recently Chance the Rapper.

Why is it So Difficult to Keep a Music Festival Going?

The music festival scene is overrun with a lot of competition across the world. It is very difficult to compete with already established brands. Every year, a dozen or so major festivals close up shop, including the recent announcement of the end of Toronto’s WayHome.

Is the music festival scene dying? No, certainly not. There are some who would say it’s as healthy as ever, with so many different music festival and genre options to choose from. There’s always new festival organizers coming to the table as well. That said, when one of the world’s biggest companies pulls out of the music festival landscape, it does make you question.

Where is Apple Music Pooling its Resources?

Apple Music is really focusing on creating original content, in the same way that Netflix has been so successful. The company just began its Carpool Karaoke spin-off, published a Harry Styles documentary, and is always creating new Beats 1 content, bringing in some of the biggest names in the music business to drive these efforts.

If you’re a committed fan of live music and/or the international music festival circuit, knowing that one of the world’s most publicized festivals has shut down kind of sucks. What’s coming in its place are mainly exercises in branding. The ‘music’ aspect of Apple Music’s content strategy seems to be taking a backseat to other aspects of its content strategy. There’s nothing wrong with that per se as the company continue to use music – it’s just not necessarily the focal point.

The Apple Music shows that the company has chosen to sponsor – Skepta, Haim, Arcade Fire, Lana Del Rey, and Vince Staples – shows the underground, trendy vibe it’s going for. The decision to sponsor Drake’s 2016 summer tour and its effort to brand new artists have all kept people coming back to the service. For anyone involved in the music industry, Apple Music has been successful to growing its brand and it continues to do so. It’s unfortunate that the Apple Music Festival is done with but some would say it’s a necessary sacrifice if Apple Music’s intention is to divert those resources into more trendy, lucrative models.

Contributed by: Jason Leblanc