Apple Music Connect, a social network for musicians to reach their fans, is going to be shut down. The social network is part of Apple Music, which is Apple's music streaming service, but not for long. At launch, Apple had touted Connect as one of Apple Music's big features but it never gained much traction. That's why it's not so surprising that the service is being shut down.
First reported by 9to5Mac, this bit of news was confirmed on an Apple Support page too. The support page states, “Personalized Artist Radio: Every Apple Music artist now has their own radio station. Press at the top of any Artist Page to start listening to music from across an artist's catalogue. Connect posts from artists are no longer supported.”
The 9to5Mac report states that musicians have received a message from Apple about changes to Apple Music Connect. The message mentions that musicians won't be able to post to Apple Music Connect starting December 13, 2018 and all previously uploaded content will be searchable till May 24, 2019, which is presumably the day Apple Music Connect is officially shuttered.
Connect may be gone, but Apple wants to push people towards “Personalized Artist Radio” stations and redesigned pages for musicians. This leaves Beats1 live radio as the one big differentiating feature for Apple Music against its rivals. Apple Music still has a few social features, such as Friends Mix, a frequently updated playlist full of songs your friends listen to. You can also see a highlight of the albums your Apple Music friends are currently into.
When Apple Music was launched, Connect had been promoted as a platform for musicians to engage with fans and hopefully get them to buy concert tickets. There was never a proper notification system for people to be alerted when their favourite musicians had posted something new. Unless you were actively going to your favourite musician's or band's page, discovering new posts wasn't very easy.
While that could be a reason behind the failure of Apple Music Connect, the bigger reason is likely to be the fact that by 2015, almost all major artistes had their following established on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This isn't the first time Apple's foray into social media hasn't gone to plan, as we saw with Ping, which was closed a few years ago. Apple Music Connect may be gone, but the music streaming service appears to be doing fairly well, with over 50 million paid subscribers.