Why Apple’s Beats 1 is genius

“The much-anticipated Apple Music launch came and went yesterday, and initial reactions to the new streaming service were largely positive,” Paul Sawers writes for VentureBeat.

“Sandwiched in between the old world order of iTunes and the new ‘Spotify-killing’ on-demand audio emporium in the cloud, was the equally curious Beats 1, a radio station headed up by Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden, and Julie Adenuga, from studios in Los Angeles, New York, and London respectively,” Sawers writes. “So wait — let’s get this straight. Apple basically hired some D.J.s and launched its own radio station directly in its ‘innovative’ new music-streaming service? Yes, that’s about the size of it. It’s hardly reinventing the wheel or, dare we say it, reinventing the music industry. But don’t let ‘simplicity’ get in the way of what Apple’s doing here.”

Sawers writes, “It’s a minor masterstroke from Apple, one that offers a simple, frictionless channel for the Cupertino-based company to get the attention of millions of people with the promise of the best new music picked by experts.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: What’s old is new again.

Apple’s Beats 1 DJ Zane Lowe: ‘Into the unknown we go’ – July 1, 2015
AccuRadio CEO: Apple Music’s Beats 1 won’t garner a huge audience – June 30, 2015
Apple’s Beats 1 starts broadcasting – June 30, 2015


  1. It is genius because it gets people into Apple Music. I have no interest in paying monthly to stream music but I wanted to check out Beats1. Once there I started poking around and signed up for the trial. Really liking what I am hearing. Now, what happens in 3 months? I am sure there will be plenty of people who feel the way I do about streaming who will end up staying subscribed. Beats1 is bringing people in, that is why it is genius.

  2. This is a BIG WIN for Apple. Can’t stop listening to Beats1. Curated Radio is gonna be big..

    Also, talk about Street cred, Apple is getting massive street red here.

    I expect a slingshot AAPL @150 by end of year!

  3. With media as fragmented as it is today, this could be our civilization’s closest thing to re-creating the “water cooler” effect we experienced during the second half of the 20th century.

  4. It doesn’t sound bad – they’ve certainly given it nice bandwidth and clean signal – but while it’s aimed more or less at the single largest – or at least economically hottest – music-listening demo, it doesn’t tap into others that still matter in the industry.

    So with so many talking about how Beats 1 clones BBC 1 (yeah I know it’s BBC Radio 1, but emphasizing the cloneness), I’ve been listening to some of the BBC stable, and think it’s reasonable to speculate about when and whether there’ll be a Beats 2, Beats 3… …Beats n….

    1. …while it’s aimed more or less at the single largest – or at least economically hottest – music-listening demo, it doesn’t tap into others that still matter in the industry.

      The hottest music-listening demographic listens to mostly dreck. So much for Apple’s new radio station. But one must admit: If Apple is going for the maximum adoption rate, targeting the masses (people with no taste, that is) is the way to go.

    2. If Apple were planning to clone a BBC radio station, the one to aim for would be BBC radio 6 music. It plays a selection of genres, such as rock, funk, punk & reggae, together with live performances, but the great attraction of it is that most of the music is not very well known. It’s an excellent station for discovering new music.

      On the face of it, the way to capture the biggest market would be to emulate what the most popular ( in terms of listeners numbers ) stations play. However, the reality is that most of those stations play a very small selection of music and play it frequently. I would be interested to know if those stations are popular because of the music played, or whether the limited choice of songs is because the producers and presenters are reluctant to play anything other than proven hits on a popular station? Maybe the aim should not be to go for the biggest market share, but for the most musically receptive listeners? Those are the people that spend the most money on music.

      Having been born in the UK in the 1950’s, British radio largely ignored pop music until Pirate radio stations ( transmitting from moored ships just outside the UK maritime border ) came along in the mid 60’s. They were obviously inspired by the American radio stations of the day, but those DJs often refused to play some records that the station were trying to encourage them to play. It has been suggested that the sea bed below where Radio London was based must be littered with countless records that John Peel threw out of the porthole.

      The DJs from the pirate stations went on to be the first DJs on BBC Radio 1 in the late 60’s and while some happily played pap, others put the emphasis very much on more interesting music and that tradition still continues today. One of the great things about BBC radio stations is that there are shows that play relatively unfamiliar music, while British commercial stations tend to stick to the familiar.

      I think that Apple’s best opportunity is not to try and emulate the popular commercial radio stations, but to aim for a more discerning audience that will appreciate being introduced to unfamiliar artists and new music, but still featuring popular music. That strategy is more likely to lead to listeners being more interested in ( and financially rewarding ) a wider range of artists, which in turn could even to reducing the power of music labels, who are able to earn massive amounts of money from a relatively small number of major artists.

      In short, I think that Apple should do what it normally does, which is to not aim for the lowest common denominator, but instead to aim for a more discerning demographic that is prepared to spend money in order to get what they like.

  5. “What’s old is new again”

    What’s new . . . again . . . is quality.
    That’s what the “Hits” radio stations that are run by program directors that make DJ’s play the same 12 songs over and over . . . and over, are not doing.

  6. I look forward to listening to Beats1 and trying Apple Music. I’m still puzzled about the hype. I expect it to be good like BBC Radio 1 or SiriusXM stations, but that’s its ceiling. It’s a station. The fact that it’s worldwide isn’t really that interesting. Some local stations are great. I don’t care who else is listening.

  7. Meh. As its impossible for me to listen to streaming music during my working day, due to a security ban on phones in my workspace, and my computer having no soundcard, I listen to the radio, and exclusively BBC Radio 6Music, which introduces me to far more new music and artists than I can afford to actually buy.
    Yes, buy, because we simply do not live in a world with ubiquitous, 100% high-speed network coverage. I wouldn’t be able to use streaming in my car, for example, because there are far too many large holes in the coverage.
    Plus I don’t want to risk having my music library corrupted by iTunes Match, or any DRM forced on Apple to allow them to operate a streaming service.
    By corruption, I mean the wholesale reduction of file quality by the global setting of files to 256Kb/sec, when I rip at 320 or Lossless.
    I’ve got the best part of 200Gb of music in my Library, and I’m not going to let it get messed with.
    Now, if I was given the option of everything being Matched with a Lossless equivalent, then I’d be interested; until then, not a chance.

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