Zane Lowe, one of the primary anchors for Beats 1, Apple Music's 24-hour radio station, spoke recently about the first several weeks of Apple's stab at radio, his time in Los Angeles, and his approach to musical programming. Lowe talked quite a bit about how he programs Beats 1, and how the personality of the station is developing.
We started with a selection of records. That came down to four or five of us going, "What's popping?" Then you ask around about the artist, do a bit of due diligence. After the first week, it was really exciting to hear how it all fit together, but also at times it was jarring. For instance, we would come out of big shows by Q-Tip or Disclosure, and the first song was really slow -- you're immediately losing the impact you've gained from the previous song. So we made some changes. We also noticed in the first week people listened for really long amounts of time, which meant songs got tired quickly, so we revised our rotations.
Lowe also discussed programming for the world, rather than a set location.
You're thinking, "This works well in this Sydney but what about Europe?" That's why we have repeats - so that while you're asleep someone else is hearing something for the first time. It was important that it was a communal listening experience. We decided to place shows in positions that gave different parts of the world a fair chance to listen to them.
You can read Billboard's entire interview with Lowe at the link below.