This must be “Update iTunes Content” week at Cupertino or something, because Apple (s aapl) keeps making changes to the music player. First it introduced iTunes Pass, which provides superfans with heaps of exclusive content released on a staggered schedule over a brief subscription period, and now it’s launched the Indie Spotlight.
The Spotlight is a new subcategory of “More in Music,” a subsection along the right side of the iTunes store home page. You can find it right under the other new category, “Original Songs from Idol,” which is oddly its antithetical opposite.
Clicking on the link will bring you to the Indie Spotlight home page, complete with banners for three categories splashed across the top, all of which are very indie-looking, thanks to some nifty weathered Photoshop effects. I kid, but I genuinely do appreciate the new portal, which offers nice bonuses like a free music video of the week.
There’s also a dedicated Indie Spotlight podcast, which is organized by genre and comes out at a rate of one episode per week. Glancing through the catalog available via the Spotlight, I came across some of the bigger names like Cat Power, Bright Eyes, and Neko Case, but also a lot of hidden gems like Laura Gibson and Matt & Kim. The Artists’ Playlists displayed at the bottom left also offer some great mixes by the people who know best who to look out for; Hercules & Love Affair’s is particularly interesting.
It makes sense that Apple would try to cash in on the popularity of indie music, it’s really just surprising that it’s taken this long. Check out the offerings — at the very least, you’ll get a nice break from the Jonas Brothers.