Marking what would be a watershed moment for Apple – and indeed the future of radio, when former music executive and producer Jimmy Iovine took the stage at Moscone Center on Monday, June 8 … the reaction from the audience was palpable.
This wouldn’t be just be a big moment for Apple. But just as iTunes marked a paradigm shift in the way music would be consumed and delivered to the end user, going forward, the launch of Apple Music -and Connect– would signal a change in digital strategy for the company.
Granted, Apple has tried the whole ‘music + social’ thing before. You may remember iTunes Ping – a social network once built into the very heart of the iTunes Music Store. Ping gave participating artists their own profile, and opened the door to a constantly-growing following from avid fans of those artists.
But this felt different.
Apple was about to convince its millions-upon-millions of iTunes customers to migrate over to the streaming model. One complete thought around music – 10 years in the making, and a lot riding on getting it just right.
This was Apple announcing a global platform not just for the already established, but the for the indie folks. The (often) forgotten. The undiscoverable. The unsigned.
A place where those artists can live, (albeit, digitally), and have exposure to countless of millions of music fans who are already used to the iTunes ecosystem.
Real people. Who love music.
The announcement of Apple Music and Connect would have been enough, if it wasn’t for the announcement of something else … Something big.
A radio station – set to emit the meaning and “feel” of the artists that will be played on it.
Broadcasting 24 hours a day – seven days a week, live, to every corner of the globe, headed by a team of people for who music runs through their blood, and anchored by three of the world’s best DJs – Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and Julie Adenuga.
Its name? – Beats 1.
Standing in front of the mostly-gobsmacked crowd, Iovine – responsible for the production of countless music recordings during his tenure as a producer, announced that Beats 1, (an idea originally credited to fellow record producer, Trent Reznor), wouldn’t play music based on research, or genre, or drum beats – but rather, only play music that is great – and feels great.
“A station that only has one master,” Iovine said … “Music itself.”
In the words of former BBC Radio 1 DJ, Zane Lowe:
“I’m a music fan. I play records. What I love, is watching a group of people react to a great record for the first time. When I play that record on the radio, the audience tell me. The timelines light up. My friends tell me. My phone lights up. They love it – or they hate it. But it creates a debate.
That’s what good music on the radio – does.
When Apple first asked me to be involved in this, they told us to put the great music in front of the average. The unexpected. The undiscovered. The anticipated. The underrated.
Their words? – “Move the needle.”
And that’s what we’re doing.
We have real music fans running this place. We have great music DJs, and incredible artists who are in the studio right now – building real radio shows that will blow your mind.
We’re called Beats 1. We’re Always On. Playing the music that we love.”
“Beats 1 is a truly global listening experience,” Apple says. The station will broadcast 24/7 to over 100 countries from its studios based in Los Angeles, New York and London, so – no matter where you are or when you tune in, “you’ll hear the same great programming as every other listener,” explains the company.
Worldwide, Always On – Beats 1 is set to go live alongside the expected global launch of Apple Music, on June 30. The station will be accessible right from the Music app in iOS 8.4 – and will be FREE for those on iOS.