Since the beginning of August, the long-anticipated on-demand streaming service, Apple Music, appeared to be successful: Overcoming gripes about a more sophisticated interface and glitches, Apple announced a five week rate of 11 million new trial-subscriptions — over half of Spotify’s paid global user-base, Apple’s major competitor. However, the music business was at the very least as pleased about an additional aspect of Apple’s musical endeavors: Apple’s free Beats 1 radio station offered online that puts the spotlight on new music and broadcasts live 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Glassnote Records’ President, Daniel Glass states that, “It’s exciting. Everyone is watching them on music discovery.”
When Drake sought after a high-profile premiere in the latter part of July for “Charged Up” — a barrage in his row between him and rapper, Meek Mill — he selected his own Beats 1 show, which provides a venue that didn’t even have a presence just one month prior. Beats 1 serves to promote the on-demand streaming services provided by Apple Music, which premiered along with it on June 30, but the station is flourishing briskly, beginning to break tunes, such as “New Americana,” which is performed by Halsey, a rising alt-pop star, and increasing excitement with a novel method approach to a tried and true medium — though Apple hasn’t provided their listener numbers, and both satellite and terrestrial radio isn’t going anywhere soon. Beats co-founder, Jimmy Iovine, who sold his company to Apple last year, states, “It’s really simple. All of the people in the world hearing the same song simultaneously.”
Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig says that, “It’s an effective hybrid of the present and the past.” Ezra has his own show, as does the Beats co-founder, Dr. Dre, along with Pharrell Williams, Elton John, and Queens of the Stone Age’s, Josh Homme, as well as St. Vincent’s, Annie Clark.
Beats was making a concerted effort on playlists that were tagged to users’ tastes in music – a method that has been maintained on Apple Music, which provided targeted suggestions, using it’s “For You” header. When Nine Inch Nails’ (NIN) front-man, Trent Reznor, who was the chief creative officer of Beats’, made a decision that it required more of a universal approach, as well. Reznor states, “I realized it would be cool to hear someone speaking, to turn on the radio and feel that you’re a part of it.”
Beats 1 is meant to help build what Iovine calls “an ecosystem” around Apple Music. “The [other streaming services] feel like they were designed by engineers,” says Reznor. Adds Iovine, “Why use the word ‘service’ if you’re not a service? If you’re just a utility, what’s the point?”
The station’s feel was designed by the United Kingdom’s DJ Zane Lowe, who has secured a reputation as a taste-maker during his 12-year BBC1 career. The blend of indie rock, pop, hip-hop, and EDM that DJ Zane Lowe has brought — combined with heavy doses of United Kingdom grime artists — lend to the station a signature hipness. Reznor states, “It isn’t concerned about what is charting, and we don’t do research, because we are just going with what we think is cool.”
The third element of Apple Music’s system is the Connect network, which provided artists’ homepages, where they can directly release content to their fans. Apple is currently scoring major exclusives already, with artists from Keith Richards to Dr. Dre, employing Connect to premiere novel music — aiming and striking at a major chief selling point of Tidal, which is owned by Jay Z. Apple even assisted with making some of Drake’s music videos, along with both Eminem and Pharrell. Meanwhile, Drake, has allegedly struck an exclusive deal to premiere newly released music with Apple for the price of as much as $20 million. Glass states, “They are extending themselves aggressively to managers, record companies, and A&R people, as they want to creatively collaborate.”
Apple is currently the largest global music retailer. With it’s strong endeavors to dominate streaming, it goes without saying that both their artistic development and promotional endeavors as the globe’s most valued companies appears to be positioned for even more indisputable music industry domination, but nobody’s sounding the alarm as of yet. Miguel’s manager, Troy Carter states, “I don’t believe they have excessive power, and the Apple players view it as an opportunity to reshape a struggling industry. Reznor states, “With Apple’s resources, power, and scale, I can’t think of another company that’s better be included in to make an attempt to pull this off.”Read more