On June 30, 2015, the world got to experience Apple Music for the first time. On the same day, Beats 1 went live. Beats 1 being an internet radio station offering a mix of pop, rock, rap, and indie music, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you haven’t yet listened to Beats 1, we’re here to tell you why you should. In this article, we’ll explore six reasons why Beats 1 is worth your time and attention.
1. Expand Your Musical Horizons
Subscribers to music streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music Unlimited have unlimited access to millions of tracks for one monthly fee. But let’s be honest, we’re all creatures of habit and often listen to the same type of music on a regular basis.
Streaming services, including Apple Music, know this, which is why most of them rely on algorithm-driven playlists to keep subscribers happy. Sometimes, however, it’s good to venture out of your comfort zone. For those moments, Apple Music subscribers can turn to Beats 1. The channel provides a great forum for finding new music across multiple genres.
Will you love everything you hear on Beats 1? No, of course not, but you will find some great content you wouldn’t ever have heard otherwise. You may even discover your new favorite artist, which would make that hour of listening to Beats 1 more than worth it.
2. The Expertise of the DJs
Beats 1 doesn’t just do music. It also has an ever-expanding all-star cast of DJs whose only job is to entertain you. Each of these personalities offers a unique take on music, entertainment, pop culture, and more.
First, there’s Zane Lowe, who left BBC Radio 1 to join Beats 1 on day one. The Grammy Award-nominated presenter has worn many hats over the years, including that of DJ, record producer, and television presenter. Besides BBC Radio, his career stops have included XFM and MTV.
Ebro Darden, who hosts a hip-hop-based radio show, and Julie Adenuga, whose show focuses on music from the United Kingdom, also play large roles on Beats 1. Each has a broad musical background.
Darden, for example, has served as both a media executive and radio presenter at multiple stations over the years, while Adenuga is known for her popular music television show on Channel AKA and Daily Motion called Play It.
Joining these three lead Beats 1 presenters are temporary and guest DJs that change each month, including Frank Ocean, Beats co-founder Dr. Dre, Pharrell Williams, and more. These DJs all offer something you simply won’t get if you stick to listening to your own music over and over again.
3. Human Curation Beats Machine Algorithms
As we mentioned earlier, music streaming services rely heavily on computer-generated algorithms to match subscribers with music. However, these machine algorithms can only do so much.
Jimmy Iovine, Beats Electronics’ co-founder and current Apple executive, has been promoting human curation since Apple Music and Beats 1 first launched.
As he told The Guardian:
“You have to humanize it a bit, because it’s a real art to telling you what song comes next. Algorithms can’t do it alone. They’re very handy, and you can’t do something of this scale without ’em, but you need a strong human element.”
Apple’s senior vice president of internet Software and Services Eddy Cue concurred, stating that, “Understanding that I have a lot of Latin music in my library doesn’t give me a great Cuban playlist.”
And that’s the point. Machine algorithms are great at finding music that is similar to the songs and artists you already enjoy. However, it takes human curation to help you find something more out of the ordinary that you might also enjoy.
That’s where Beats 1 comes in, as it’s DJs will be playing tracks that are trending or simply need to be heard by more people. That human element should not be underestimated.
4. Unique Shows Not Offered Anywhere Else
One of the things I like most about Beats 1 is the channel’s ability to mix things up by offering special shows throughout each month. Some of these shows are designed to promote a new album, while others focus on iconic or new artists. Others highlight a current or upcoming event, such as the annual Apple Music Festival.
Not surprisingly, celebrity artists often play a significant role on these shows. For example, The Rocket Hour features Elton John, and offers a nice mix of music, videos, and interviews with other performers. The OTHERtone, meanwhile, stars Pharrell Williams doing similar things but in his own unique style.
If you miss one of these shows when it’s on live, you can always check out Best of the Week, a kind-of highlights reel hosted by Lowe.
5. Interviews With Your Favorite Artists
Celebrities don’t need a show with their name on it to find a home at Beats 1. The channel also offers a hefty dose of video interviews with established and emerging artists alike.
Beats 1 often gets Lowe to interview artists, and he always seems relaxed, regardless of who he’s interviewing. And if even you’re not a fan of the artist being interviewed, you should find them at least mildly entertaining.
6. Offering Internet Radio on Demand
Beats 1 broadcasts around the world every hour of the day. If you do happen to miss something, the Beats 1 section in Apple Music offers a library of past shows in various formats. You can go here to listen to previous shows or enjoy featured videos.
The longer you listen to Beats 1, the more likely you’ll find songs and artists you’ll want to hear again. For this, you should turn to the Featured Playlists section of Beats 1. From here, you can quickly access songs highlighted on each show. Best of all, you can add these songs to your iTunes library just as you would with other Apple Music tracks.
Give Beats 1 a Try Today
I’ve been listening to Beats 1 off and on since it launched in 2015. And, possibly like yourself, I began listening with some skepticism. Before this, I tended to listen to the same artists and songs on a continuous loop. Whatever new songs I did find enjoyable, I usually found through algorithm-driven playlists or samples from iTunes.
It took me a while to enjoy Beats 1. The early shows tended to focus more on rap music, a genre I never really embraced (even after sampling a lot of rap music on Beats 1). In time, the Beats 1 shows became more diverse, offering songs and artists across various genres.
Now, I listen to Beats 1 on a daily basis. It has enhanced my Apple Music experience, and I can’t wait to see where the channel goes in the months and years ahead.
Apple Music is available for $9.99 per month, with discounts for students and families. New users can get a 90-day free membership just by subscribing via the Music app for iOS and Apple Music for Android.
Do you currently listen to Beats 1? If so, what do you like about it? And what would you change? If not, why not? Would you rather listen to your own music? Is the very idea of radio stations playing random music ooutdated? Please let us know in the comments below!