Apple has long had composer information for millions of tracks at its fingertips.
Traditionally, that’s thanks to a deal with metadata giant Gracenote (which is currently being sold to Nielsen for a whopping $560m).
This songwriter information was always easily accessible in iTunes, but in Apple Music… not so much.
However, a quiet recent update appears to have changed all that.
MBW has spotted that if users choose to ‘edit’ their Apple Music Library in the latest version of the mobile app, they can choose which browsing categories are displayed when they revisit the platform in future.
By default, these categories include Playlists, Artists, Albums and Songs.
However, additional categories available in ‘edit’ today also include Video, Genres, Compilations and… Composers.
MBW played around with the ‘Composers’ option today. Here’s what we found.
First, the limitations: only downloaded (ie. iTunes mp3) or streaming songs which have been saved to your personal library (offline or online) are currently searchable by composer.
That’s still a step in the right direction for a function many behind-the-scenes songwriters have been crying out for.
We cached two albums from different time periods to highlight the goods: Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo (2016) and Stevie Wonder’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered (1970).
Subsequently, under ‘Composer’, tracks from both albums are now listed by their co-writers.
In West’s case, that includes people such as Chris Brown, Christopher Breaux, Cydel Young and Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd).
In Wonder’s case, it includes co-writers such as Don Hunter and Lee Garrett.
When searching our entire personal library – and remember, the tracks don’t have to be ‘cached’ but they must at least be ‘saved’ – we were able to hunt for songs specifically using individual songwriter names.
For example, searching ‘Cydel Young’ threw up a handful of Kanye West tracks such as Black Skinhead and, from Life of Pablo, Famous and Facts.
Remember that we didn’t search for Kanye here at all, and that in the image to the bottom right (click to enlarge), Black Skinhead is saved in ‘My Library’ but clearly not cached (ie. is not ‘offline’).
The next obvious step for Apple would be to roll out this function to the whole of its ‘online’ service – not just those tracks you have saved to your personal library.
Arguably, it’s already a bit of a one-up on its rivals over at Spotify, TIDAL et al.
Apple, remember, has also been hiring in-house lyrics specialists – presumably so it doesn’t have to rely on a third-party partner when launching karaoke-style functions in future.
Watch this space…Music Business Worldwide