A major part of Cupertino's new Apple Music service is a component called Connect.
The idea behind Connect is to bring artists and musicians closer to their fans, to provide closer interaction between them. Connect functions as a place where fans can follow their favorite artists' social activity, which is all located in a central location. It's a single place where artists can connect with their fans.
That activity might consist of original content like behind-the-scenes videos and photos, new song premieres, written notes, remixes, lyrics in-progress and more. Followers can, in true social media fashion, comment or "love" favorite postings.
As Apple's Internet software guru Eddy Cue put it, Connect aims to "enable [you] to experience things you've never been able to hear or see before."
If this sounds familiar, it is. Apple tried something very similar back in 2010 with "iTunes Ping," a service that aimed to connect artists to their fans from within the iTunes app. That network fizzled out after just two years. Connect hopes to set itself apart in a few ways.
First, there's a strong push with Connect to be more inclusive of independent artists. You'll find all of your big-name favorites on Connect (or at least the ones that choose to participate), but "even kids in their bedrooms," as Apple put it, will be able to engage with fans.
"There needs to be a place where music can be treated less like digital bits but more like the art it is," said Trent Reznor in a pre-recorded video shown at the event, "with a sense of respect and discovery."
Second, Connect will come with the full package that is Apple Music, which also incorporates a global radio station and Spotify-like music streaming from any and all music within the iTunes catalog. While Apple Music's streaming service will cost $9.99 a month, Connect is a service free for everyone.
Connect will be available with Apple Music when it launches on June 30, 2015. iOS devices will get a separate Apple Music app; Mac users will find Apple Music as an add-on to iTunes.