I was superbly excited going into this year’s Apple Music Festival, even more so than usual. Previous years have seen me bouncing around in glee at the concept of a fortnight’s worth of free live music, streamed around the globe to be soaked up in the comfort of my own living room. This year, given my focus on musical education, I was looking forward to it even more! Plus, the line up looked exceptionally good.
Thankfully, I haven’t been disappointed. The festival is still going on but the acts I wanted to see have all performed, so here’s my round up of five reasons AMF10 (ten years of live music!) was one of the best to date.
- They’ve created some fabulous playlists. Before the show even got going, the Apple Music curators were hard at work crafting some wonderful playlists to hook in to the show. Some were the more straightforward selection of a featured artist’s work, or some songs that were played in a particular year, but there were also a handful of brilliant collections. A particular favourite is this, the playlist of live covers played during previous festivals.
- It’s an incredible line-up. I think I’d have been excited it if it was only Bastille or Elton John on the menu, but it wasn’t, it was both. As well as Robbie and Britney and OneRepublic and Alicia Keys and oh wow, my head has exploded with joy. Not only that but I’ve been introduced to a handful of support acts that have also knocked my socks off, so this year has been a real success.
- Elton John’s live radio show was great. Elton could have come out on stage and sung his classics and received a rapturous standing ovation. But he did more than that. Echoing the radio show he does on Beats1, Elton invited new acts to join him, performing one of their songs and then joining them in a cover of his own music. I must admit, I haven’t listened to Elton’s show in a long time but I’m determined to get into it now, as I loved all four of the acts he introduced. And he still had time to do Rocket Man.
- It’s available in several different ways. With their own streaming platform, it’s no surprise that the festival was locked down to Apple Music subscribers only, but I can understand how that could be frustrating for those left outside. For the lucky ones who got to tune in, there was a new way to do so this year, as the live shows were also broadcast on Beats1 in audio only – this was good for listening to a band who have a particular fondness for strobe lighting, as well as getting backstage gossip before and after the shows as well. It may be a paid for service now, but you get more bang for your buck than ever before.
- Replays are up even quicker. I can remember being so frustrated at missing out on a live show in previous years because it could be an interminable wait for the replay. In some cases, there was no streaming replay at all which made it even more frustrating. So far this year, I’ve seen the replays popping up the day after each artist has performed which means it’s much easier to pick and choose who you watch and when – the perfect situation for a modern audience.
Of course, it’s not all rosy. On the flip side to all this goodness, I found the schedule quite hard work to find, not so much the list of artists but what times they would actually be appearing. Getting the stream to work on the app wasn’t always straight forward, if we were loitering in the app it would sometimes require a restart otherwise the content wasn’t appearing. And I thought there were far fewer details about support acts than there have been previously, almost as if no one was expecting anyone.
But for an essentially free fortnight of live music, inspiring a new-found love of Christine and the Queens, and allowing me to revel in the quite astounding back catalogue of OneRepublic, I have no significant complaints.