Apple to launch Carpool Karaoke series

Singers John Legend (above left) and Alicia Keys in a taping of a Carpool Karaoke: The Series episode.
Singers John Legend (left) and Alicia Keys in a taping of a Carpool Karaoke: The Series episode.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • Will Smith gate- crashing a wedding party or John Legend and Alicia Keys serenading a woman at a launderette are just some of the reasons Apple hopes viewers will pay for Apple Music as it launches new show Carpool Karaoke: The Series.

Following the June launch of Planet Of The Apps, Apple's second premium video series will debut tomorrow with hopes that a recognisable show and slew of A-list celebrities will help the world's largest technology company stand out in a saturated television market.

"It's about the artist and the songs that are being sung, just to get a little behind-the-scenes of their personalities and some of their thoughts," said Mr Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice- president of Internet software and services. "It fits very nicely within Apple Music."

Carpool Karaoke is based on the popular segment from CBS' The Late, Late Show With James Corden, in which the talk-show host joins guests such as Adele in sing-a-longs while driving.

Apple Music, which costs US$9.99 (S$13.60) a month for an individual membership and has 27 million subscribers, will release two Carpool episodes weekly - except for the premiere and finale, released as standalone episodes - in the 20-part series.

Apple's deep pockets piqued Hollywood's attention as it entered the original programming race and poached two Sony Pictures Television executives.

Mr Cue said Planet Of The Apps, where app developers pitch to celebrity mentors, had led to new customers signing up for free three- month Apple Music trials, and hoped Carpool Karaoke will continue to draw subscribers.

The premiere features Corden and actor-singer Smith singing Smith's hits and surprising star- struck guests at a wedding party.

Other pairings include comedian Billy Eichner with heavy metal band Metallica, singer Miley Cyrus with her family and The Daily Show host Trevor Noah with singer Shakira.

Corden, who appears in some episodes of Carpool Karaoke, said partnering the technology company was a "no-brainer". The series offered a chance to include celebrities whom he said had asked to do the segment on The Late, Late Show.

"We really wanted to try and keep (Carpool Karaoke) in that rarefied air," Corden said. "We started thinking if all of these names are desperate to do it, I wonder if there's a world in which we could find a sister show for it that lives somewhere else, not on network television."

Apple is competing in a crowded field against companies including Amazon and Netflix, shelling out billions of dollars a year to stream dramas and comedies.

The rising costs of producing video content are a big concern, Mr Cue conceded, but he noted that there was also an "incredible wealth of talent and opportunity".

"It's easier to create content than it has ever been," he added.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2017, with the headline 'Apple to launch Carpool Karaoke series'. Print Edition | Subscribe