Apple Music’s Bozoma Saint John Says Human Curation is Key, Not Algorithms


In an interview with FastCompany, Apple Music’s marketing manager Bozoma Saint John answered some criticisms of the service Apple launched in June 2015.

The first version of the app and the service was praised for some functions but criticized heavily for others. Saint John said that the best way to take the criticism is to allow that criticism to fuel the creation and invention of the best solutions for the problems.

The new version of Apple Music that will arrive with iOS 10 will reportedly include simple operating mechanisms, that can be adapted by a novice user to a advanced digital music consumer. In her interview, Saint John also defends the the fact that Apple Music contents are curated by music experts and playlists are uniquely generated based on user preferences, compared to Spotify which uses a dynamic algorithm to suggest new music and create playlists.

“Human curation allows you to have the emotion and feel music, because it is a very emotional thing. It makes you feel happy, it helps you when you are feeling sad, gets you pumped up, calms you down. You want me to keep going? Because I could preach. I think it is a very emotional thing and you should treat it as such. We as humans have that and we can express it.”

When asked why she hasn’t been noticed before her presentation at this year’s WWDC, she said:

“Well, darling, we’re only in year two. Listen, baby, we’re just getting started.”

When asked about Apple’s policy on global diversity and inclusion, she said:

“I always find that question quite funny, because I don’t have another experience. The experience I have is this. This body, this is it. I don’t have anything else to compare it to. Frankly, I think it is unfair to me, if I did it to myself, to say, “I wonder how this experience has been different to mine?” It would undercut my own successes and my own passion and my own journey. I really don’t do that. This experience is what I have. Do I work hard? Hell, yeah. Am I passionate about what I do? Yes. Do I hope I have a future in this? Absolutely. Do I hope nobody gets in my way? They better not.

It is a difficult question to answer, and I have tried many ways to figure out how to answer it and I have come to the same thing, which is that this is it, this is the experience I have. To compare it to somebody else’s would do me a disservice.”

Have you been using Apple Music over the past year? If so, let us know about your experiences with the music streaming service.