Apple Music Wants to Widen Its U.S. Lead — Starting With This DJ Khaled Ad Campaign

DJ Khaled in an Apple Music/HomePod spot
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Just moments after passing Spotify in the US, Apple has just released a high-budget ad campaign featuring DJ Khaled, Kevin Hart, and a little friend.

Earlier this month, we broke the news that Apple Music had surpassed Spotify in terms of US-based subscribers.  That was soon echoed by separate data from the Financial Times, with Apple zooming into the passing lane.

Now, it looks like Apple is adding extra heat on its rival, with designs to widen its slim lead.

Which brings is to a very splashy, comic ad spot featuring DJ Khaled and a range of Apple products. The spot focuses on a comic interplay between DJ Khaled and his toddler song, Asahd, with Kevin Hart doing the voice in the background.

The just-released ad also features HomePod smart speakers, which of course tie into Apple Music.

The ad opens with Khaled’s son plotting to overthrow his father’s music empire.  Throughout, there are multiple tie-ins to Apple’s HomePod speakers, with DJ Khaled and his son both referencing the speaker directly by saying, “Hey Siri.”

Frankly, this has the feel of a Super Bowl spot, with a comic high-energy and a big, juicy budget.  Not entirely surprising, given that Apple has ample advertising budget — even in the off-season.

The commercial is a partnership to promote both Apple Music and DJ Khaled’s latest single, “No Brainer,” which features vocals from Justin Bieber, Quavo, and Chance the Rapper.

The single is a follow-up to the previous hit title, “I’m The One.” The track isn’t an exclusive to Apple Music, though Beats 1 was the first streaming station to premiere “No Brainer” to the world.

And of course, Apple is trying to tie its various products into a cohesive ecosystem.  Accordingly, Apple is getting more serious about getting its HomePod in more households after the device’s launch this past February. A recent report suggested that HomePod’s market share is around 3% since launch, which still trails Amazon Echo’s 55% market share and Google Home’s 23% market share.

Apple has a lot of ground to cover in convincing customers to consider the HomePod smart speaker platform, but these celebrity promotions will certainly build brand awareness.

Apple has a long history of working with celebrities to promote its products, but this is the first time they’ve put a commercial focus on HomePod in such a high-profile way.  And here’s the obvious kicker: consumers that grab a HomePod are extremely likely to grab another Apple offering, like Apple Music.  In fact, the race for smart speaker dominance will probably have a massive impact on the future of streaming music, with Amazon easily controlling this game.

Apple Music is no stranger to celebrity spots, with the likes of Mary J. Blige and Taraji P. Henson helping to launch the product.

Here’s DJ Khaled and Kevin Hart in action, with a guest appearance from Siri.




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