On September 12, Tucker Halpern was watching Apple’s keynote product release event when he heard a song that he recognized: his own. “Best Friend,” a song he produced with Sophie Hawley-Weld, one of his actual best friends and his musical partner in the dance-pop duo Sofi Tukker, soundtracked the unveiling of the iPhone X (price tag: $1,000). It was their second spot for the company, following a 2015 Apple Watch ad.
About a month after the debut, Halpern is still excited about the placement. “That was an amazing surprise,” he says. “We didn’t know it was going to be in the ad until the keynote.”
We’re sitting on benches by the Williamsburg waterfront in the unseasonable autumn heat. Halpern, 27, is tall and lanky with blond hair that swoops out from his head like an iceberg. He’s blessed with that rare millennial equilibrium between swag and self-deprecation, like a blend of Justin Bieber and Jason Segel. Hawley-Weld, 25, has straight brown hair, blue eyes, and a purposeful way of moving — she’s a trained dancer — that specifically recalls Katniss Everdeen. There was a hint of hyperreality to the pair. They seemed digitally sharpened, larger than life, an impression heightened by Hawley-Weld’s enthusiastic small talk about her multivitamin regimen and the tiny embossed peaks covering every inch of Halpern’s snow-white Nikes.
In September, BuzzFeed published an essay about the “palpable, and perhaps permanent, turn against” the “corporate leviathans” of the tech industry. The piece described rising fear and anger directed toward the “Big 5”— namely Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple — in response to their increasingly monopolistic aims. “Anti-trust is back, baby,” crowed a Yelp bigwig. Of these companies (and all other companies), Apple is the richest. It’s valued at $752 billion, with $256.8 billion cash on hand. The total 2017 budget of the State of New York is $163 billion.
One of the biggest questions facing humanity today is what such companies, with their top secret R&D projects and gravity-shifting bank accounts, want to do with us. Unlocking that starts with assessing how they want us to perceive them. Since the dawn of the iPod, music has played a critical role in Apple’s brand identity. Even as its business model has soared far beyond the crumbling grounds of the music industry, sound remains a key component of how the tech giant engages with the world.
(Excerpt) Read More at: Vulture.com