Beats 1: Apple’s strangest WWDC announcement, and why it sort of makes sense

“Among the many things that Apple announced at its annual developers conference Monday was one that we really weren’t expecting: the launch of a radio station,” Hayley Tsukayama writes for The Washington Post.

“The rest of Apple’s much-anticipated music service is largely a matter of feature-matching what’s already out there into a neat Apple package. That’s not to say the service isn’t interesting, but on-demand streaming, personalized ‘stations’ to surface new music and even curated playlists are par for the course in the online music world. So is its $10 per month price tag,” Tsukayama writes. “But ‘Beats 1’ is different: a global radio station that features not only a constant stream of curated music, but also real, actual DJs. Apple has tapped three prominent names in radio — Zane Lowe in Los Angeles, Ebro Darden in New York and Julie Adenuga in London — to lead the station, which seems to have the genre distinction of “whatever we think is cool.””

Tsukayama writes, “On his blog, music industry analyst Mark Mulligan said Beats 1 shows that Apple has a nuanced strategy for music. ‘Placing radio centre stage is smart, as that’s how Apple will engage the early follower consumer, who will be Apple’s core target (other than winning back some existing Spotify users),’ Mulligan wrote. ‘Remember, Apple’s core priority is delivering the best possible music experience to as many of its device owners as possible. A [$9.99] subscription service that works for 10% of them is much less interesting than a free radio service that works for 500 million of them.’ He also posited that Beats 2 and Beats 3 could follow, since it’s really hard to make a radio station that actually accomplishes that goal.”

Read more in the full article here.

Mark Mulligan writes for Music Industry Blog, “The long term implications are intriguing. If Apple establishes itself as one of the key engagement platforms it will change some of the core dynamics of music marketing. All the while strengthening its hand and establishing an indispensable role for itself if it doesn’t make meaningful inroads into the subscription market. Consider it a back up plan. But even more interestingly, if it succeeds at both subscriptions and marketing then it suddenly has more power than it ever did in the hey day of the iTunes Store. Apple could emerge with the power to break and then make an artist. Once it gets there record labels will rightly start casting nervous glances over their shoulders.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Beats 1 is another, potentially major, vector for music discovery and it’s headed by Zane Lowe, a personality who’s proven he can grow and retain an audience.

Note that Beats 1 is free; no Apple Music membership is required. Apple Music will work on iOS, OS X, and Windows PCs starting on June 30th and even some version(s) of Android (this fall).

The following Apple Music features do not require a membership and are accessible simply by being signed in with your free Apple ID:

• View artist feed on Connect
• Follow artists on Connect
• Listen to Beats 1 radio station
• Listen to Apple Music radio stations

Apple Music members get those four features above, plus:

• Play and save Connect content
• Like Connect content or radio songs
• Enjoy unlimited listening from the Apple Music library
• Apple Music content to your library
• Save for offline listening
• Get expert music recommendations

Important: At the end of the 3-month trial period, the Apple Music membership will automatically renew and payment method will be charged on a monthly basis until auto-renewal is turned off in account settings.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

SEE ALSO:

Jimmy Iovine and Eddy Cue: Apple Music gunning for Spotify, YouTube, and terrestrial radio – June 9, 2015
Shark Tank’s O’Leary: Apple Music is a ‘giant nothing burger’ – June 9, 2015
Something about Apple Music betraying Apple’s brilliance by ignoring ‘The Harry Potter Theory of Marketing’ or some such nonsense – June 9, 2015
Bob Lefsetz on Apple Music: What team is Jimmy Iovine on? – June 9, 2015
Apple Music’s huge advantage over Spotify – June 9, 2015
Apple Music is a major mess and it won’t beat Spotify or something – June 9, 2015
When Apple Music arrives, what happens to iTunes Match? – June 9, 2015
What Apple Music says about how Apple views musicians – June 8, 2015
Apple’s revolutionary Apple Music just might prove its skeptics wrong – June 8, 2015
Apple unveils revolutionary Apple Music service – June 8, 2015

33 Comments

    1. You were always paying full price and more for your iPhones from AT&T. The monthly payment on the unpaid balance on the iPhone was included in your subscription price every month. And it didn’t go away once your contract ran out. If you didn’t get a new phone instantly as soon as your contract ran out you were donating money to AT&T.

      1. No, I had a non-smartphone line I was laying $10 a month for. I alternated upgrades and did immediately purchase the new iPhone EVERY year, sold my phones at a profit every time, and thus reduced my monthly bill further. I worked it to its fullest extent. Maybe if someone only upgraded once every two years or less, or only had a single line without the added $10 line making up a huge difference, but in my situation I was certainly NOT paying what I’ll be paying now. My bill isn’t going to be any cheaper by not signing any contracts when I keep my unlimited data. Only difference is ill pay $240 less over two years by not having the extra line, but pay $900 more for iPhones making my bill still $660 more than it was before.

  1. An honest to goodness radio station thats worth listening to is rare. What does this mean ? I had a fleet of radio stations that I used to listen to. Now I can only think of 1 that I would turn to for something reliable.

    1. Music that draws you in, rather than repels.
    2. Music that I have never heard before
    3. Music that I am willing to buy.
    4. DJ’s can be on top of things minute to minute. The DJ’s have to WANT to be on top of hot topics as well as making their own trends. iTunes / Beats and most other websites will always be behind.

    I’m looking forward to Beats Radio fast.

  2. I’ll be very interested to see how Beats 1 works. Will it be a single stream with DJs in different time slots? Will I find the music interesting? I’m hoping Beats 2-n will follow, focused on genres such as classical and jazz. There are already excellent classical FM stations that stream over the Internet (KUSC, WQXR) and jazz stations (WBGO). Of course, I’m in the US. It would be great to have stations and DJs from all over the world bringing their regional music to everyone’s attention. If diplomatic relations continue to improve, I bet that Apple could find a dynamite Cuban DJ – I would absolutely give that station a try.

  3. Personally, I think the Beats Apple Music announcement didn’t belong at the WWDC. It means nothing to developers.

    It should have been it’s own event. Developers are there to learn about OSs and coding and hardware changes.

    1. I will disagree with Tyler on this.

      1. Legal reasons (lawyers, fill us in): Apple needs to do some announcements during certain times and not others so as to not run afoul of SEC)

      2. Big news: the WWDC is big news so put the big announcements right here. If Beats annoucement is shoved to the side, it makes Beats look like an unwanted banana.

      3. Finally, developers. Developers are probably not going to modify Beats. But , developers are going to be influenced by Beats and may put in advertising hooks to Beats.

      The title is Developers conference

  4. Beats 1 could be interesting, but it’s a radio channel. That’s all. I was more interested in the features of the streaming service, and the details were lacking around that works and fits in (or doesn’t) with your regular catalog and iTunes Match.

    I really thought there was too much attention paid to the Beats 1 station. The “only Apple could do this” was overblown. Internet stations are broadcast to anyone around the globe today. They may not have live DJ’s, but it’s not that hard. I expect Beats 1 is like a SirusXM station. A lot of them are great, but not worthy of an Apple keynote.

    I’m keen to try Apple Music for the streaming and full catalog access. If it’s good, I may drop iTunes Match and use (free) Google Play matching for anything not in iTunes. I have some digitized vinyl that isn’t on any stores, so matching (really uploading) is nice.

    Then there’s Connect. Ping 2.0.

  5. I don’t know if its just me, but I think the Music app difficult to use and understand. You can make your own station and say I choose ACDC, that is all I want to hear! But other junk gets mixed in so why even have the option to create your own station or whatever its called. Interface is confusing to me.

  6. I am a big time music lover and this presentation still didn’t garner my full attention. Now it could change when we get to use Apple music. The one thing I will say is that with all this internet music changing everything the one good thing about old way of listening to music was the whole radio station thing itself. The way radio started to change in the 80s and 90s was bullshit…but the idea of someone broadcasting and telling you about new music is still a good idea and doesn’t need to die. So, the Beats 1 thing is probably the best to come out of apple music. They want to keep alive the idea of radio…but transformed to this day and age. And sure, you could say internet radio has been hear for ages…but i think this is a juncture where they could redefine radio by being worldwide. instead of doing local news spots between music they could do worldwide snippets. i know news isn’t the focus hear…but all radio stations had this kind of thing….its like your getting to know the dj just like your getting to know the music and that is important too.

  7. Monday’s WWDC keynote was the worse Apple keynote I have ever seen, bar none. The loss of Steve Jobs’ taste cannot be overstated.

    The lame video intro added 5 minutes of unfunny worthlessness. The little video skits of Eddie Cue pretending to do Karaoke were awkward, a waste of time and, again, unfunny.

    Having 20 different presenters (or however many it was) makes for a fragmented and uneven presentation. Steve Jobs used to handle either the entire show, or at least 75% or more of it.

    The audience appeared to be nearly 100% men. Men don’t want to see presentations by women who seem like they ought to be reading stories to kindergarteners.

    Jimmy Iovine has no gravitas, and does not belong at Apple, much less giving part of an Apple keynote. He did very poorly.

    Unlike Steve Jobs, Tim Cook has no sense of theater at all. He has people going out on stage and basically listing off bullet points as fast as they can, and as if you’re supposed to applaud after every single one of them. And if the products and features are really great, then you don’t have to say the word “great” every other sentence.

    The One More Thing… was royally screwed up. When you announce One More Thing…, it’s supposed to something that people have been eagerly anticipating and hoping for. This is a developer’s conference. They wanted to see an AppleTV development kit. Not some Top 40 music rental crap.

    Eddie Cue dancing and pretending that this or that latest flavor-of-the-day Top 40 airhead was one of his favorite “artists” was monumentally lame. But as bad as that was, him dancing was emblematic of the awfulness of the entire event.

    Note to Eddie Cue: We get that when you press a button that music will play. Playing music at the press of a button is a quite old and well established concept. Please stop making people sit through 15 seconds X 37 songs of Top 40 crap of the week when demoing your “revolutionary” music crap.

    In addition to the word “great,” I heard the word “revolutionary” a number of times. And yet there was not a single thing which was actually revolutionary. Just because you’re Apple doesn’t mean that the mere introduction of a new product is “revolutionary.”

    And last, but not least, Apple clearly has decided that its key demographic is black teenagers. In addition to the worthless mumblings of some guy supposedly named “Drake,” when you look at the music that Eddie Cue insisted on making people sit through, as well as the dumb Apple Music video, you see at least 75% black people. Yep. Go ahead and watch the video again. Blacks, blacks, blacks, and more blacks.

    So an audience of men were made to sit through presentations by a couple of Chatty Cathy’s, but an audience of WHITE men were made to sit through enormous loads of degenerate blackness.

    Blacks account for 12% of the population, and the most worthless 12% by far. Yet Apple has apparently decided that they’re now the key Apple demographic.

    Apple no longer “gets” music, nor do they get taste, class, culture, appropriateness, or expectation.

    Tim Cook’s lameness was on display for all to see. He’s riding Steve Jobs’ coattails, and doing it poorly.

      1. Awesome refutation: Presumptuous Ad hominem.

        Now then, would you like to SPECIFICALLY any one – any single one – of my quite valid points?

        Eh?

        If I’m so wrong, why is it that all you can do is gainsay and act like a 7 year old child.

        What’s next? Nanny nanny boo boo?

    1. Do you feel better now that you got that off your chest? Does it feel good to show your ignorance?

      If you don’t like what Apple is doing then stop buying their products. I’m sure they know more about music than you or else you’d have an impact on music, not them.

      1. Actually, you presumptuous fool, Apple knows less – FAR LESS – about music than I do. I could, off the top of my head, with no preparation at all, go head-to-head on musical knowledge with the entire executive team at Apple and win hands down.

        Moreover, I don’t need a damned DJ to play music for me. DJ’s are NOT musical experts, and I am at a loss for why anyone would think that they are. DJ’s are also outdated. Their DJ things will fail, as will there revamped and renamed Ping.

        I’ll criticize what I want to criticize, and if you don’t like that then you can go to hell. If you don’t like my points, then REFUTE them. Good luck!

        I’m an Apple investor, and what they do has a material impact on my portfolio. So what say you drop dead in telling me what to do. Okie dokie?

        1. “I do. I could, off the top of my head, with no preparation at all, go head-to-head on musical knowledge with the entire executive team at Apple and win hands down”

          you would go up against say Iovine (an Apple Executive) and win?
          really? As running a music BUSINESS also means knowing people in the industry, so how many producers, music label owners or even top flight musicians do YOU know?
          Can you get ONE top band to sign up to play for you?

          yeah, Apple fans can criticize the presentation for it’s flaws in slickness etc (vs Jobs previous) but to call Black people (African Americans mostly) ‘degenerate’ is crass.

          1. Did I not clearly say that I was talking about MUSICAL KNOWLEDGE? Look at my original words.

            Why are you talking about music label owners? There are many who can’t even READ basic music. You don’t know much about the recording industry at all, do you?

            At any rate, I’ll be happy to tell you a very limited amount in order to protect my privacy:

            1) I have a degree from a well-known and highly respected institution of higher learning whose very purpose is music. I will not tell you what aspect of music (performance, music production, engineering, film scoring, composition, conducting, arranging), but I will reveal that it is one of those I just listed. I attended said highly competitive institution on scholarship, and am proficient in three music instruments.

            2) I have worked for over 20 years in some aspect of music production now in one of the following cities: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, London. Not all of them, mind you, just one of the above.

            3) My occupation includes that I am regularly involved with some of the best studio musicians in the world.

            4) My occupation is in one or more of the following: conducting, production and engineering, classical composition, film scoring, orchestration and arranging, performance. Not all of these mind you. One of these mainly, and a little bit in a couple of others.

            5) I am also published. Music itself, plus an instructional book which is highly regarded, covering a subset of my area of expertise. I am working on a second book, and time permitting, more are planned even after that.

            So yes, I would EASILY put Iovine under the table in terms of musical knowledge. In terms of Top 40 music business stuff, yes, he would win. But in terms of musical knowledge and actual musical accomplishment, I would win hands down.

            Your problem is apparently that you equate Top 40 music business crap with musical knowledge. This means you are ignorant and presumptuous. Both of these can be fixed, but you’ll need to dial back the arrogance a great deal.

            You got any more questions, hotshot?

            1. I didn’t even bother to finish your post as your first line is silly:
              “Did I not clearly say that I was talking about MUSICAL KNOWLEDGE? ”

              you’re saying your MUSICAL knowledge is more than Iovines?
              or all those programming experts that Apple hired really?

              “I have a degree from a well-known and highly respected institution of higher learning whose very purpose is music.”

              reminds me of an particular episode of Dragon’s Den the business show where a college business professor argued that he ‘knew more about business” than all the multi billionaires and millionaires on the panel, one of whom flew to the meeting on his private jet ….

              ” I am also published.”
              lol, how many hundred millions did you make vs Dr. Dre

              no matter how much you TRY to POLISH yourself just calling African American’s ‘ Degenerate Blackness ‘ labels you already as trash.

            2. You seem to have a great deal of trouble understanding the concept of “musical knowledge.” You really DON’T understand what musical knowledge is AT ALL, which makes it all the more puzzling that you think you have any business weighing in this subject.

              In fact, by the looks of it, your head is a superficial dung heap. You are a low class, lowbrow, worthless piece of street trash scum. People like you are prime examples of the dumbed down, vacuous, airhead state of the modern day left-winger.

              I think you’re mad because you asked me a question when you thought you had me over a barrel, and as it turns out I actually DO know what the hell I’m talking about. Dr. Dre is not musician. He is an affirmative action pop culture dropping. As is Iovine. As is someone named “Drake.” As are most of the Top 40 degenerates – packaged for the lowest common denominator – people like you, barely burning an IQ of 79.

              As for blacks, they are, on the whole, a degenerate people. This much is easy to see. If you disagree, I’d encourage you to take a trip to Africa to see what they’re like when they don’t have so many white people to leech off of. If you’re not willing to do that to back up your gnarled world view, then now is the part where you shut the hell up.

            3. “I think you’re mad because you asked me a question when you thought you had me over a barrel, and as it turns out I actually DO know what the hell I’m talking about”

              (really?)

              “My occupation is in one or more of the following: conducting, production and engineering, classical composition,”

              ” pop culture dropping.”
              “Top 40 degenerates”

              LOL.

              what i get is that you think ONLY your narrow music tastes (i.e classical) is ‘music’, the rest is not (“top 40 degenerates”), that’s why you think you can debate the experts at Apple.

              BUT every single dictionary out there defines Jazz, Blues, Rock , Country and all kinds of Pop as ‘music’. When I say you can’t win a debate with Apple experts is including all those other forms of music (like Top 40). SO CAN YOU WIN A DEBATE WITH THE APPLE PROGRAMMING GUYS ON SAY ‘JAZZ’ KNOWLEDGE? Or certain segments of European Pop? I do not think so.

              you’ll like an idiot artist who thinks that his narrow form of say abstract minimalism using acrylic spray is ART and everything else : all other other abstract art, all realist art (like Michelangelo) , conceptual art, SCULPTURE, printmaking, photography is NOT (“top 40 trash” ). Saying that you are an ‘expert’ while LIMITING the field artificially to your own concerns is laughable.

              LOL, Take your head out of of your puckered ass…

              You’re so ridiculous even above your racist crap it’s beyond belief….

              I like Classical by the way but I’m more open minded enjoying and respecting other forms of music from all types of cultures.

      1. I would advise you to look at IQ studies regarding black intelligence – such as it is. The average is below 85, which is idiocy.

        I would advise you look at the lack of black accomplishment in technology, invention, sciences, Fine Arts, developed systems, philosophy, higher thinking, founding, exploration, creativity, letters, civilizational accomplishments, etc., and compare it to the other races.

        I would advise you to look at crime statistics properly broken down by race.

        I would advise you to look at government freebies and redistribution of wealth (welfare, EBT cards, government housing, government programs, etc.) percentage per population broken down by race. White people are being robbed blind and our earnings are given to people who hate us and have nothing to show for themselves.

        I would advise you to look at every single black-run community, city, and organization. You can start with Baltimore.

        I would advise you to look at the high school dropout rates and the illegitimacy rates broken down by race.

        I would advise you to look at the drug abuse and alcoholism rates broken down by race.

        I would advise you to look at every black area of every city and point out all the good ones for me.

        I would advise you to look at their impulsive, lawless, loud, selfish, crude and rude behavior.

        As for Barack Obama being POTUS, I will tell you two things:

        1) He is POTUS because he is black (half black, really). He is our Affirmative Action President, and the foolishness of every obtuse person who voted for him is to their everlasting shame.

        2) I do not regard being POTUS as the most awesome occupation ever, especially when it is occupied by someone who hates my country, hates my people, hates liberty, hates white accomplishment, and is doing everything he can think of to destroy all of the above.

        Are you glad you asked, hotshot?

            1. You’re just a fat old American racist. It’s of course not surprising to anyone outside the U.S. that black people in the U.S. have underachieved compared to white people because so many fat old white racist men like you run things over there and they have discriminated against people with a different skin colour for such a long time. Have you done any research into the intelligence of blue eyed people versus brown eyed people? Or obese people like you versus skinny people? Why are you choosing to divide human beings based on the colour of their skin? And you don’t even have the balls to reveal anything about your identity, laughably listing things that may or may not apply to you.

  8. It’s intriguing that it’s called Beats “1” implying they’ll be more stations. If it follows the BBC (where Zane Lowe came from) then Beats 2 will be aimed at the older demographic, Beats 3 will be classical music, Beats 4 will be news and documentaries (no music – seems unlikely), Beats 5 will be sports (again, seems unlikely) and Beats 6 will be alternative music for people in their 30’s. I listen to BBC Radio 4 and BBC 6 Music, but I’m far too old for BBC Radio One!

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