Entertainment & Arts

Take That and The Weeknd join Apple Music festival line-up

Take That Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Take That play the festival shortly before embarking on a European arena tour

Take That, Chemical Brothers and R&B star The Weeknd have joined the line-up for the Apple Music Festival at London's Roundhouse.

They join the likes of Pharrell Williams, Florence and the Machine and Little Mix, who have already been announced for the 10-day event.

One Direction will also perform in one of their last live performances before a year-long hiatus.

Previously called the iTunes festival, the event is now in its ninth year.

The 2015 edition is much shorter, however, spanning 10 nights instead of the usual 31.

"We wanted to keep it crisp," Oliver Schusser, vice president of iTunes International, told the BBC.

"It's a who's who of who is currently around. Some new artists, some established superstars. That was really the thinking behind it."

Streaming numbers

The festival has faced criticism in the past because tickets are distributed in an online ballot, meaning audiences are not always hardcore fans.

In 2013, Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner demanded an unresponsive crowd "wake up", and dedicated the song Snap Out Of It to them.

"Some nights it's better than others," Schusser admitted, "but that's really the point of the festival - you can introduce artists to a new audience".

He said steps had been taken to ensure genuine fans made it into the shows, with more tickets being given away directly by the artists and their record labels.

And he said this year's line-up would continue to grow, with several acts still to be revealed, including the opening night headliner on 19 September.

"We're just waiting to announce them," he said. "There's a couple of artists where you'll see a really special show."

Image copyright AP/ Reuters / Getty Images
Image caption The line-up also includes Florence + The Machine, One Direction, Little Mix and The Weeknd

Schusser also oversees Apple's new streaming service, Apple Music, in the UK and Europe. Launched nine weeks ago, the company's rival to Spotify and Tidal has signed up 11 million subscribers during a free, three-month trial period.

Coincidentally, the free trial will end as the festival draws to a close, perhaps prompting some wavering customers to retain their subscription.

"It is a coincidence," Schusser said, "but it's a nice coincidence, because there'll be lots of really interesting content, and there'll be lots of buzz on social [media].

"Our focus is on making Apple Music as great as it gets and the bump from the festival will really help."

However, he insisted, the company is not focusing on customer retention numbers.

"We don't wake up in the morning and look at the numbers and get stressed about it. We think that, over time, if the product is great, then people will choose our product over other people's."

Meanwhile, he refused to be drawn into speculation about the rumoured launch of the new iPhone, Apple TV and iPad Pro at next week's "Apple Event" in San Francisco.

"You're going to have to wait. It'd be really boring if we spoiled all of the surprises."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites