|Broadcast area||Over 100 countries|
|Slogan||Worldwide. Always on.|
|First air date||June 30, 2015|
|Format||Freeform radio, rhythmic contemporary, urban contemporary|
Apple bought audio equipment maker Beats Electronics in 2014, which included the ownership of Beats' former music service Beats Music, and made Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers responsible for the iTunes Radio service. Business Insider later reported that Apple was planning to merge the two services. Apple also hired Zane Lowe as a music curator.
The day of Beats 1's launch, The Guardian revealed that they had been given pre-recorded examples of Beats 1 programming, and said it "suggests an eclectic mix of programming to fill the 24-hours-a-day of broadcasting."
In September 2016, Apple refreshed the Apple Music interface with the release of iTunes 12.5 and iOS 10. Beats 1 reportedly became harder to get to, due to the clunky interface of iOS 10's Music app.
In March 2017, Apple claimed that Beats 1 was "the biggest radio station in the world" and beat all other music stations in concurrent listeners.
Reception for the Apple-run station has been mixed. Quartz analyzed the track list of songs that were aired on Beats 1 in its second week. "Though Beats 1 is an eclectic mix of genres, some listeners have complained that it plays too much hip-hop." However, they did note that "there is a reasonable amount of diversity..."
Mashable complained of "dynamic-range compression, which squashes the volume range of audio" and also said, "The variety can be a blessing and a curse...it jumps all over the musical spectrum...If I wasn't committed to listening to nothing but Beats 1 for this review, I would have turned it off."
9to5Mac had a generally positive review of the station, saying, "Although Beats 1 is advertised as a 24/7 station, it isn’t really true. The schedule is set up on a 12 hour basis, so for the other 12 hours it plays a recording of the last 12 hours...This is frustrating for me, being based in the UK. If I listen in the afternoon and in the following morning, I am likely to hear the same shows repeated...In summary, Beats 1 as a concept is great... It needs some work on the software side and the production side to make it really shine."
Jason Cipriani of Fortune wrote, "I haven’t liked every song played on Beats 1, but the personal bond I instantly felt with each DJ has been strong enough for me to resist the urge to go back to a lifeless algorithm."
Kirk McElhearn wrote, "Beats 1 radio is clearly a loss-leader. Apple has designed it to draw people into Apple Music and get them interested. But the station is designed for just one demographic: the young, pop/rock/hip-hop listener. As such, it’s a non starter for a lot of Apple Music customers, and that’s a shame."
After Larry Jackson, Apple Music's Head of Programming, claimed Beats 1 is the number one music station worldwide, media.info warned readers of believing Apple's claims without listenership numbers.
Beats 1 broadcasts a mix of music focusing on new music and artists. Unlike the playlists for the "stations" on iTunes Radio, The Next Web claims, "The overarching aim of Beats 1 is to curate cool new music, whether it be new talent or fresh music from established artists." Brooke Reese hosts a show called Chart, which has music premieres and countdowns of popular music in general on Apple Music. It features both full songs in addition to snippets and previews. However, most shows focus on specific music genres or musical cultures.
Beats 1 aired Apple's annual Apple Music Festival (which was formerly known as the iTunes Festival) as well as interviews with popular American music artists such as Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars and Chance the Rapper. Apple Music Festival was cancelled in 2017. Beats 1 and Apple Music as a whole wanted to focus more on introducing new artists and creating original content.
Beats 1 also lets some musicians host their own shows on the station. In an interview with Digital Trends' Keith Nelson Jr., Zane Lowe praised the format, saying, "We’ve been overwhelmed by...how great the artists are at doing it."
In 2015, Apple secured trademarks allowing them to create up to four sister stations for Beats 1, however, Apple has not yet launched these stations or announced plans to launch more Beats-branded stations.
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