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Oprah's joined up thinking

Published October 9, 2019

Oprah on Apple TV

One of the things Apple is renowned for, and also vilified for, is their unified approach to technology. They make the software and they make the devices which helps to have a more seamless experience as a user (although not at the moment!) and now they’ve added content to their list as well. When I wrote the post about enjoying the new reading goals in association with Oprah’s book club moving to the Apple platform, I hadn’t realised quite what a crossover experience the team have created.

Firstly, Apple News was able to feature the reports that Oprah would be bringing a new TV show to the Apple TV+ network. Oprah’s Book Club will launch when the new streaming service rolls out on 1st November, with new shows every two months. This gives you time to buy the new book via Apple Books and devour it. For every book sold through the platform, a contribution goes to the American Library Association, whose goal is to make reading accessible and an everyday habit (this ties in with the previously mentioned reading goals).

Naturally at the moment, we only know details for the first show, which will feature Ta-Nehisi Coates discussing his current book The Water Dancer. The conversation is filmed in front of a live audience in Washington DC which is kinda nerve-wracking but fun!

To help learn more about Coates, there has also been two tie in features:

  • On Apple Books, Coates shares some snippets about his previous works: “It occurred to me that fiction was a way to live in worlds that I had only written about through non-fiction, but live there really intimately and not just from a reporting-just-the-facts perspective.”
  • And on Apple Music, he’s put together a playlist: “These are songs that have moved him, stayed with him and inspired him to write over his life and career.”

You only have to spend a few minutes in the Apple infrastructure before you find something about this show or this book. It’s incredible, and it’s not a coincidence. With the new Dickinson TV show featuring Hailee Steinfeld, there’s an accompanying single which has made quite a splash on Apple Music, both song and video.

And in this Wired article about Beats 1, boss and broadcaster Zane Lowe says: “I want more people to listen and discover this stuff. And I want to integrate what we do at Beats 1 into Apple Music more thoroughly. I would guess there are still subscribers who don’t realise Elton John has done over 200 shows. Those shows are works of art in their own right.”

I’m definitely aware of them.

It’s an interesting time in this device/content crossover. I absolutely understand why people might be nervous of this all-encompassing attitude, to be so in thrall to the messaging of just one company is an awful lot of power for that organisation to have. At the moment Apple appear to be using that power for good but a) you never know and b) who knows if that will last. Oprah’s on board, though and for now that is good enough for me. I’m all in and ready to enjoy. I’m reading the book, listening to the playlist and ready to watch the TV show. Bring it on!

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