A year ago, Apple’s Grammy ads featured Animoji lip-syncing to Childish Gambino and Migos, but in 2019, they have been updated to the more personal Memoji starring Ariana Grande, Khalid, and Florida Georgia Line. Apple posted a YouTube playlist with three Memoji videos, one from each performer. But if you watch them to the end, you’ll notice the disclaimer that the Memoji were “professionally animated.” Which is to say that Apple is simulating its face-tracking character animation technology, rather than really putting it to the test.
It’s a sign of how seriously Apple takes the Grammy Awards, which will air this Sunday, that the company has recruited some of the biggest pop stars for its promotions around the show. Billboards featuring Memoji of Grammy-nominated artists have also shown up around Los Angeles in anticipation of the gala event. All of these ads point directly to Apple Music, which Apple hopes to make the world’s favorite music destination as it works to diversify its revenue streams so it doesn’t have to rely on just selling tens of millions of iPhones.