Rap Life: Apple Music’s latest play for the hip hop dollar
Hip hop and R&B have been the biggest beneficiary of the streaming era, accounting for 36.2% of all streams in the US, according to Nielsen
Here’s one high profile example.
Despite the gap in subscription figures between the two biggest streaming services, when J. Cole released his KOD album its first day US streams were 64.5 million for Apple Music and only 36.7 million streams on Spotify.
It’s the rappers (Drake, Post Malone, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar) who break serious streaming figures while the pop names as Shawn Mendes and Ariana Grande do better on the radio.
So it’s no surprise that hip hop is the soundstage where Apple Music fires more salvos against its closest rival.
Apple Music is taking on Spotify’s major playlist RapCaviar, which has 11.7 million followers, up from 9 million two years ago.
It has launched Rap Life, a rebranded global version of The A-List: Hip-Hop, and which will be updated daily.
Designed to be fast-paced to keep up with the culture’s rapid changes, it will feature “the most exciting new hip-hop, hand-picked by Apple Music’s editorial curators”.
The playlist states: “Rap isn’t just a genre. There’s a reason it’s sometimes simply called The Culture: It’s a way of life.
“And this playlist is where rap lives, breathes, and moves.
“Rap Life is home to hip-hop’s heavy hitters and vanguard—the stars and the songs that speak to the moment and define the culture today.”
It will feature mostly North American names but major Australian names as Hilltop Hoods, A.B. Original and Illy could most likely be included as part of the global round-up.
Apple Music’s support from hip hop artists rests on the fact that it provides many avenues through which to promote their music.
The playlist will also be extended to a soon-to-be-launched Rap Life show on Apple’s 24/7 station Beats 1, which will also include discussions around hip hop culture.
It remains to be seen if Apple follows Spotify’s move from two years ago to expand RapCaviar into live events, in partnership with Live Nation.
Apple Music’s global editorial head of hip-hop and R&B Ebro Darden said: ”Apple Music has worked to uplift hip-hop and has earned the respect of the artists and the fans worldwide, so now we going to keep pushing the culture forward with Rap Life.
“The playlist was A-List HipHop, but we flipped it to dig deeper into the lifestyle… pay attention!”
The inaugural Rap Life playlist features J. Cole on the cover and topped by Cole and the Dreamville crew’s ‘Under The Sun’ off their Revenge Of The Dreamers III album.
Throughout this week, Rap Life will feature a different act from the Dreamville roster.