Even though Music Business Worldwide wrote that “Six Feet Under” was “an independent release built on the hype” before Bellyache was released by Darkroom/Interscope in March 2017” — it isn’t true. The former track was released by Darkroom but more importantly for this section, it was premiered on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show
. This kicked off what’s become an almost absurd integration of a teenager’s identity within a music streaming platform.
Back in January 2016, Billie Eilish signed to Platoon
, an artist discovery platform that would later be bought by Apple Music
. Zane Lowe premiered Eilish’s first major-label single “Six Feet Under.” And Eilish did perform at Apple Music’s 2017 SXSW event
less than a year later. Then, one month after the summer 2017 W
story, Eilish announced that she would be part of Apple Music’s UpNext Artist program
. She was quoted to have said the words (which I totally believe were her own original words not crafted by anyone else): “Ever since UpNext was launched, I’ve thought all the docs about the artists were cool and insanely interesting. It’s so rare to be chosen, and the idea that they’ve chosen me is incredible.” Who hasn’t been obsessed with Apple Music’s UpNext documentary series?!
Again, what is the New Model
here? Being signed to a major label at age 14 and premiering a song on Zane Lowe’s radio show and spending the following year becoming further integrated into Apple Music marketing tactics? Is that it? The reason I ask is that Eilish’s Apple Music connection didn’t stop there. A couple of months ago, Apple announced that a selection of its stores would have stations where users could remix her music
via GarageBand or other similar apps. Music Business Worldwide ‘broke the news’ that Eilish’s debut album secured over 800,000 pre-saves
. An entirely bullshit stat, meant to sound similar to pre-orders and imply that one will listen to an album and thus produce more money. But this is in no way analogous to putting down more money prior to a product’s release and exists to help reaffirm the value of the album,
which her Billboard
profile was obsessed with perpetuating.
The integration of Billie Eilish into Apple Music doesn’t discredit her music but speaks more to the fact that it was created, to an almost comical degree, simply for the purpose of pushing forward a particular narrative of music streaming success. That’s why the industry centers press around how she’s found success doing various styles but still wants to make an album, which is supposed to run counter towards the music age of singles. The Billie Eilish experiment is an effective part of a larger public relations campaign run by Apple Music to establish itself as the upholder of traditional music values against the disruptor of Spotify’s algorithms and playlists. Of course, that’s nonsense but I’ll admit the story does sound good when told through baggy clothes, wild hair, and a give-no-fuck attitude.