Beats 1 iPhone 6

Speaking to his former Radio 1 boss at the Radio Festival in London, Beats 1 head DJ Zane Lowe admitted that he wasn’t sure Apple Music needed Beats 1. In a moment of candor that probably made Apple’s PR department choke on these words, Lowe is saying out loud what I’ve personally been thinking for a while.

When Apple introduced Apple Music and beats 1 at WWDC this year, I was pretty excited by the prospect of a radio station playing 24/7 without commercials and would allow me to discover new music. The passion conveyed by Zane Lowe at the time was really what sold me on it.

But then I started listening to Beats 1…

The loss of interest in Beats 1 started for me pretty much as I first started listening to the station. The DJs are great, but the selection of music really is hit or miss for me. I’m a rock music kind of guy. Punk rock is what I grew up on, and alternative music is what I’m into these days. Beats 1 does play these genres, but it usually happens between a rap song and a dance music beat, which basically represents my least favorite types of music.

So I’ll be tuning in to Beats 1 and if I’m lucky, a genre I don’t mind will be playing. If I’m really lucky, another song in a genre I like will be playing next, but then the inevitable hip-hop deep cut hits the air. That’s about when I turn off Beats 1.

And I can’t be the only one feeling this way. Regardless of the kind of music you like, I doubt most people can listen to an hour of Beats 1 and be 100% happy with the selection.

The problem comes from the essence of Beats 1, which was born and raised to be an eclectic radio station. Even if some DJs favor specific genres on their shows, Beats 1 is still trying to please too many people with too many music styles, and I’m not sure most people can go from punk rock to reggae, to hip hop, to classical music in 30 minutes. Some people won’t mind, but I feel the majority of people would rather stay in a select group of genres that actually go well together.

To me, the solution is to open up additional Beats station based on specific genres, something which is actually possible as Apple’s current music licensing contracts include permissions for up to five additional Beats radio stations.

If I could tune in to a station that just plays different shades of rock music, then I’d be seriously interested. Likewise, I’m sure specific stations based on various genres (ie. hip hop, EDM, pop) would be more successful at retaining listeners than the one-size-fits-all station that Beats 1 currently is. As it stands, jumping from Taylor Swift to Refused just doesn’t do it for me. I can’t be the only one feeling like this, can I?

  • Cody

    This is exactly how I feel.

  • Ecigsandcoffee

    You’re not. It does get weird after a while. And I feel one of the additional stations should be uncensored!!!! Granted were in the first three months, let’s see how it grows before we condemn it. I know since listening here and there I’ve learned so much about other kinds of music and artists I would have never heard if it wasn’t for Beats 1. And I love me some E-Bro so that helps too.

    • Kevin Osborne

      Yeah I actually love it. It’s definitely opened me up to stuff I never would’ve heard before.

  • VITICO

    I feel the same way… for me its the opposite of music choice as you.. I wanna hear hip hop but then im stuck listening to rock or some other genre i dont really listen to.

  • DtownBlogger

    I think for the most part Beats 1 has been just ok. Although I will admit I have discovered some amazing new music. Kinda in between right now…

    • Cristian Meneses

      Agree. A radio like Beats 1 is a great place to discover new music and artists, but if you are not open to it or you prefer to listen to a specific style at the moment, then that style “station” is the right place to go

  • Eikast

    Apple Music of course doesn’t need Beats1 but it’s just an included bonus for those who want to listen to it. I’m not a subscriber because of Beats1. Sometimes I just listen to it when I’m about to drive for a short period of time and don’t want to waste time choosing a playlist.

  • Mr.Coolfreak

    wow, can’t believe he would actually say that in Public

  • RubbaNeck

    Exactly. I think I’ve listened five separate times for a total of five minutes and they’re always playing something that makes me cringe. They definitely need Metal, Punk and Hard Rock DJ’s….might as well throw a goth station in as well.

  • The world doesn’t need radio stations period…

  • This article sounds exactly like a comment I left on here before but I’m sure now a whole bunch of ppl will agree since everyone follows the bigger voice.

  • Joonyaboy

    I actually like it. I play it at work during the day. It’s nice not hearing the same Top 40 US hits all the time.

    • It’s nice not hearing the same Top 40 US hits all the time.

      Yet Beats 1 has it’s own charts show. If I’m listening to Beats 1, round about when the charts show comes on is when I turn it off…

  • If I could tune in to a station that just plays different shades of rock music, then I’d be seriously interested. Likewise, I’m sure specific stations based on various genres (ie. hip hop, EDM, pop) would be more successful at retaining listeners than the one-size-fits-all station that Beats 1 currently is. As it stands, jumping from Taylor Swift to Refused just doesn’t do it for me. I can’t be the only one feeling like this, can I?

    Agreed! It would be great if Apple could make separate stations e.g. Beats 1 Rock, Beats 1 Pop, Beats 1 Dance, Beats 1 Hip Hop, etc and then a general one-size-fits-all-station (i.e what Beats 1 is like right now, not often but sometimes I just want to hear music and don’t really care what).

  • Jamessmooth

    I would never listen to Beats 1 by myself, as it currently stands. For background music if I’m hosting a party or get together? Sure.

  • n0ahcruz3

    Nailed it Sébastian

  • Marcus

    I completely agree Sébastien. I typically listen to variations of Alternative and Rock with very occasional Dance/Electronic music. I hate rap/hip hop and I don’t like Pop much either. I prefer adding songs from my favorite artists on Apple Music and just listening to those.

  • Oscar Alaniz

    Agree.

  • Rupinder

    It’s a weird thing to think about. Like, why limit and censor what you’ll be listening to when you have the rest of the iTunes library available to stream? It’s cool once in a while when they have artist interviews, and I also go back and view some radio shows playlists, but I’m not sure if just having one station is good enough.

  • Rupinder

    Anyone else noticing little “pop” sounds and beeps in their music while streaming off Apple Music? My songs started to randomly skip as well. Super annoying to start happening days before the trial is over.

  • rfow

    “Beats 1 is still trying to please too many people with too many music styles, and I’m not sure most people can go from punk rock to reggae, to hip hop, to classical music in 30 minutes.”

    This is unfortunate to hear. I’ve strictly been a Hip-Hop, Rap, Reggae listener since I first heard music that wasn’t in it’s prime 30 years before I was born. With that being said I’ve found myself discovering songs that I never thought I’d have a taste for. Beats 1 is a great selection of music from every genre, the great selection being the key and the sole reason I’ve wanted to maybe branch out to the genres that have been played. So ultimately what you’re saying is that some people just don’t want to try something out of their comfort zone, something different; Beats 1 won’t work because it’s a melting pot. Kind of like if someone preferred only eating American cuisine and they were never ever open to trying Italian, Indian, or Mexican furthermore whoever thought of mixing them all together is absurd. Anyway, everyone is entitled to an opinion whether it be Zane himself or a renowned journalist, I respect it. In my opinion, I think Beats 1 is a great concept and an awesome idea to connect people through all kinds of music.

    • Bad analogy. He tried beats1 and from his experience he didn’t like it. So your whole “not being open to trying new things” argument is moot.

      • rfow

        Maybe so… But this article reaches out farther than “from his experience didn’t like it”.

        “The problem comes from the essence of Beats 1, which was born and raised to be an eclectic radio station. Even if some DJs favor specific genres on their shows, Beats 1 is still trying to please too many people with too many music styles, and I’m not sure most people can go from punk rock to reggae, to hip hop, to classical music in 30 minutes. Some people won’t mind, but I feel the majority of people would rather stay in a select group of genres that actually go well together.”

        If you don’t think this is a declarative group of sentences then I’m not sure you understand English grammar. All but the last sentence is a blatant statement. Again, as I said, I respect Sébastien’s opinion but then at the end it seems he is suggestive on behalf of a group of people, not just his own.

        Aside from that, I can see all these comments are rallying in favor of the author. I’m curious as to why you chose to rebuttal against the one comment that disagrees and disagrees with reason might I add. The analogy is relevant. He doesn’t like Beats 1 because there’s too many different sounds, rather he would prefer the music is segregated to different stations per genre. I’m not trying to attack the author, that’s just what it sounds like to a someone (speaking for myself) who doesn’t feel the same way about it.

      • I hear what you’re saying. I’m not speaking for everybody, but I do feel most people don’t want to listen to some genres they know they don’t like, such as hip hop for me.

        And you can tell from the reactions to this post. Most people agree with me. It’s not that they’re not open to new music. It’s probably they know what they don’t like and don’t want to listen to it.

        As a rap fan yourself, it’s probably easier for you to actually like Beats 1 because hip hop is what they play most. So really, out of 100 songs on Beats 1, you’re very likely to like more songs than me. Now reverse this. hip hop is a genre I don’t like, which means that out of 100 songs, I’m very likely to dislike a majority of them.

        I think it works the same way for many people.

  • Dan

    I like being able to go to the specific shows of the specific DJs I like. So for example I listen to the Pharmacy, which is great, and Zane Lowe’s show as well. It’d be great if they podcast these as well, but it’s no problem being able to dial them up. I never just listen to Beats 1, though.

  • I agree 100000000%. Different stations is the only way this can work out.

  • JayDee917

    It’s a pop music radio station. Not sure what else you would expect.

  • It’s a radio station branded with Dr. Dre, I thought hip hop would be expected.