Apple has removed the ability for musicians to use its Apple Music Connect feature, starting the process of shutting down the social function of its music streaming service.
According to 9to5Mac, artists with music on the iTunes store received a notice today from Apple telling them that as part of a redesign to its profile pages, the ability for them to post to the Connect feature was to be shut down as of Dec. 13, 2018, with legacy posts to be removed from search on May 24, 2019.
The feature has not been updated significantly since the launch of Apple Music in 2015. While not officially dead until May 2019, the fact that Connect can no longer be used by artists, and that in 2016 it lost its prime real estate as a dedicated tab and was moved to the bottom of the For You section, pretty much acted as a death blow for the feature two years ago.
Some of Apple Music’s social features, like the ability to follow friends and have auto-populated playlists based on what those friends have been listening to, have seen greater engagement. So chances are that these are safe from the deactivation axe, but we’ll have to wait until the next WWDC in June 2019 to see exactly what’s going to happen.
Apple’s iTunes Ping, a previous attempt at combining music and online community, was sent out to pasture in 2012. The Twitter-like service was a less unique take on a social network compared to the artist-fan dynamic that Connect was trying to tap into, and ultimately lasted two years before Apple decided to swap it out with Facebook and Twitter integration for the music app.