James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” has been a major hit with online viewers. Since it first launched with superstar Adele, the Late Late Show host has made a name for himself by bringing in a who’s who of celebrities and public figures to join him on an epic ride with Top 40 hits that span generations of music. Now, Apple Music has partnered with the show to offer the series in a streaming format, expanding its reach to the 29 million-plus viewers who are already subscribed to the show’s YouTube channel and tapping into the ever-growing popularity of new media.
“Carpool Karaoke” videos regularly hit upwards of 1.5 million views per video, so the move for Apple Music to create a streaming series of the show makes sense for the tech pioneer. The most recent video featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and Missy Elliot has grabbed 34 million views and counting.
While some may question why the tech giant would pursue such an already successful venture, the ability to tap into a large network of dedicated viewers, plus the cross-generational appeal of the web series, is a way for the music service to create a bigger footprint in the market. According to Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, these are some of the reasons the streaming partnership made sense.
“We love music, and ‘Carpool Karaoke’ celebrates it in a fun and unique way that is a hit with audiences of all ages,” said Cue.
The digital venture is a setup for success in many ways for both Apple Music and the show. With apps like iTunes in its back pocket, Apple is one of the top outlets for buying music in digital formats. Combine that with the diversity of musical celebrities that come through the “Carpool Karaoke” segment and Apple has hit a jackpot of sorts for cross promotion. By purchasing the exclusive streaming rights to “Carpool Karaoke,” there is a natural crossover potential for fans to hear music on the show and then buy the music through the digital music source.
This will be the tech leader’s second time venturing into the digital streaming market with an established audience. While some may wonder if the “Carpool Karaoke” agreement is a signal of what plans the company has for future projects, it should be noted that Cue has directly stated that Apple is not interested in becoming the digital music version of Netflix by purchasing large amounts of shows to stream.
“We are only going into the content business [with projects] that we think are really tied to our products,” said Cue.
Some wonder if the addition of the viral hit will squash its current format, but viewers will be able to get the best of both worlds. “Carpool Karaoke” will continue to air on the Late Late Show with Corden at the helm, and the show will be creating weekly exclusive content for Apple Music, so it’s a win all around.
Questions still remain on how the show will do without the comedic timing of Corden. According to reports, the streaming “Carpool Karaoke” show being developed for Apple Music will not have the British-born darling as host, but he will serve as executive producer. This may not be much of an issue, as Apple is working on ways to translate the energy of the show into the digitally streaming version by bringing in celebrities as hosts of the exclusive content, acting as more of a vlog with music as the central theme. How that will intersect with the everyday life nature of the original show remains to be seen, but with 16 episodes in play for the first round, there will be plenty of time to find out.
[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]