Apple is bankrolling videos from stars like Drake, Taylor Swift, and Eminem

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YouTube/DrakeVevo

Apple didn’t just buy a line of headphones and a streaming music app when it bought Beats in 2014 for $3 billion.

It also acquired a full-blown pop-star promotion operation.

Led by Apple Music boss Jimmy Iovine and Larry Jackson, head of original content at Apple Music, it’s throwing immense resources at big-time musicians, Rolling Stone reports.

One of the big projects that Apple Music is doing is that it’s funding scores of music videos and concert documentaries. (Apple’s also trying to nail down streaming exclusives.)

In the past year, Apple has actually paid for several very high-profile videos, from stars like Drake, Taylor Swift, and Eminem.

And as it turns out, the music videos being made with Apple’s money are pretty cool – and sometimes edgy. In one example, Apple CEO Tim Cook even weighed in a video made by singer M.I.A. about refugees.

Take a look:


The most famous Apple-funded music video is Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” which debuted on Apple Music.

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Drake/INSIDER

It’s a simple video — Drake kind of just dances in place — but the James Turrell-inspired video has racked up over 811 million views on YouTube.

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YouTube/DrakeVevo

Watch it here:


Apple also funded The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face,” which he performed live for the world premiere of the single at the end of an Apple keynote. The song was first released on Apple Music, and has since racked up 600 million views on YouTube.

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YouTube/TheWeeknd

The video ends with The Weeknd dancing while on fire — filmed with high production value, obviously. “Can’t Feel My Face” ended up going platinum five times over. According to Rolling Stone, there’s another version of the video that has never seen the light of day.

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YouTube/TheWeekndVevo

Here’s the video of The Weeknd’s world premiere performance.


Watch the video here:


Apple brought out the wallet to help fun M.I.A.’s video for Borders, which was directed by M.I.A. herself. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook had a hand in its production.

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YouTube/MIAVEVO


What’s notable is that M.I.A. takes pride in pushing boundaries, like a good pop star. Apple notoriously likes to avoid controversy, but the Borders video passed muster. Maybe Cook liked the intro, which has a pro-Apple chorus: “We’dom smart phones/Don’t be dumb!”

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YouTube/MIAVEVO

The lyrics of “Borders” have some more incisive social commentary:

Borders (What’s up with that?) Politics (What’s up with that?) Police shots (What’s up with that?) Identities (What’s up with that?) Your privilege (What’s up with that?)


Watch the video here:


Apple’s also funded some very rich musicians as well, like Dr. Dre’s longtime buddy Eminem, who needed some money for the very big budget “Phenomenal” video, which includes a lot of slow-motion, and action sequences.

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YouTube

Apple was able to slap an Apple Watch on Eminem’s wrist for a little bit of quick product placement.

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YouTube

Watch the video here:


But it’s not just fully-fledged music videos that Apple is funding. Apple Music is working closely with Taylor Swift, producing a documentary about her most recent tour. Watch a preview below:


Swift has also appeared in a series of ads for Apple Music.


Getting ready to go out&@AppleMusic @JimmyEatWorldhttps://t.co/vq8LCFOuCO

@AppleMusic@JimmyEatWorldhttps://t.co/vq8LCFOuCOApril18, 2016