Apple may not be planning to take on Netflix just yet, but there’s no escaping the fact that the company is increasingly showing an interest in developing original content designed to attract more and more users to its Apple Music service. In addition to an original TV show starring Dr. Dre, Apple has already committed to releasing a Taylor Swift tour documentary, a reality show that focuses on developers creating apps, and most recently, the rights to a spinoff of the popular Carpool Karaoke segment from the Late Late Show with James Corden.
The latest addition to Apple’s already varied stable of media content will be a documentary of some sort that will be shot in cooperation with Cash Money Records. According to Bloomberg, Apple will reportedly be funding the project that will become an Apple Music exclusive upon completion. While the focus of the documentary hasn’t yet been confirmed, Music Business Worldwide notes that the program will primarily focus on “Cash Money and Birdman.”
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Now for those unfamiliar, Cash Money over the years has served as the recording home to some of the biggest names in Hip-Hop, including Lil Wayne, Drake, Flo Rida, Nicki Minaj and Ace Hood. And even though Cash Money’s roster is always evolving (Lil Wayne is no longer there), one has to marvel at the fact that Cash Money has remained a relevant record label for nearly two decades now.
Co-founder Bryan Williams, who performs under the stage name Birdman, posted a picture to his Instagram account on Tuesday alongside Larry Jackson, the head of Apple’s original music content, with both executives holding their chins pensively. The photo celebrated Apple agreeing to fund a documentary for the label, according to people familiar with the deal. It is not, as many had speculated after the photo, an agreement to secure all of Cash Money’s new albums exclusively, the people said.
The Instagram photo in question can be viewed below.
We can only hope that the folks at Apple working on the project show Birdman the respect he deserves.
As an aside, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Apple’s plans to develop original, at least for now, will primarily be musically oriented. In other words, it remains to be seen if Apple has any intention of rolling out an original series a’la Netflix. While some have suggested that Apple should buy Netflix outright, we’ve previously highlighted how it would be much more affordable for Apple to produce its own content than to buy Netflix, which currently has a market cap of $41 billion. To wit, Apple could produce 7 top-notch shows for less than $500 million, as evidenced by the cost to produce one season each of the following hit shows:
- Game of Thrones – $60 million
- Breaking Bad – $39 million
- House of Cards & Orange is the new Black – $100 million
- Homeland – $36 million
- Netflix version of Arrested Development – $45 million
- LOST- $100 million over the course of a 25 episode season
- Boardwalk Empire – $60 million