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Apple launches TV show, looks to video to boost music subscription business

Eddy Cue, Apple senior vice president of internet software and services, at an Apple event at the Worldwide Developer's Conference on June 13, 2016 in San Francisco, California.
Andrew Burton | Getty Images
Eddy Cue, Apple senior vice president of internet software and services, at an Apple event at the Worldwide Developer's Conference on June 13, 2016 in San Francisco, California.

Videos can play an important role in Apple's growing music subscription business, according to Eddy Cue, who says setting Apple Music apart from the competition needs hosting more than music.

Cue, who is senior vice president of Internet Software and Services at Apple, spoke on Monday evening at Recode's Code Media conference.

"It's one of the differentiating factors we can add to Apple Music," he said, adding in its 15 months, the subscription service has grown beyond 20 million users, making it one of the fastest-growing services.

One way Apple is introducing videos to Apple Music is through the upcoming launch of its reality TV show, "Planet of the Apps." The show is being produced by Propagate Content and the tech giant and centers around app developers.

Participants will make an elevator pitch — in this case while descending down an escalator instead — about their iOS app ideas to a panel of judges. If they are successful in impressing the panel, which include Jessica Alba, Will.i.am, Gwyneth Paltrow and Gary Vaynerchuk, they will be shortlisted for mentorship. In the final round, they have to pitch their apps to Lightspeed Venture Partners, which have reportedly committed over $10 million in capital to fund the winning ideas.

To sweeten the deal, winners will have their apps featured on the App Store.

"Apps, like music, television, (and) film, are a dominant part of our current cultural landscape," said Propagate's Ben Silverman, who is co-producing the show and was present at the Code Media chat with Cue.

In an environment where many tech companies are moving into creating original video content or buying existing content for their respective platforms, Cue emphasized Apple's strategy is more about influencing the culture.

"We're not out trying to buy a bunch of shows, we're trying to do some things that are creative, that can, we think, move culture and that Apple is adding some value to" he said.

Apple will also release another show, "Carpool Karaoke: The Series," which is set to drop on Apple Music in the near future. The show is based off a segment made popular by The Late Late Show host James Corden, where he rides along with celebrities in a car and sings.

Last year, the Hollywood Reporter said Apple ordered a 16-episode series that will stream weekly on Apple Music and will be produced by CBS Television Studios and Fulwell 73, the production company of Late Late Show executive producer Ben Winston. Corden, various reports said, is not expected to host the series that will be aired on Apple Music.

Cue added that constant innovation and introduction of new features and services was key to accelerate Apple Music's growth in a world where he said less than a 100 million people out of billions of listeners were subscribing to music.

"We still think the potential for growth is exponential...and we want a lot more."

On Monday, Apple shares closed at an all-time high at $133.29, surpassing its record closing high price of $133 set in February 2015.

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Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Recode's parent Vox Media. Recode and NBC have a content-sharing arrangement.