Beats 1 is Apple's new take on the radio station—a 24/7 live set of programming without ads or chart-topping play requirements. It went live just two hours ago, at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET, with Zane Lowe spinning everything from Eminem to Melbourne guitarist Courtney Barnett.
For me, Beats 1 is such a strange and majestic concept: I've been chatting with friends all over the world about the same songs and jokes. It has an almost Oscars-like vibe on social media; everyone in my friends group is chatting about it at once. As someone who probably hasn't talked music regularly since college, I love this back-and-forth, and finding out the music my pals love—and the stuff they hate.
"Our genre is great. That is it." This was one of Zane Lowe's opening statements, and after listening to his two-hour block, I'm inclined to agree. It's definitely different than any radio station I've ever listened to.
The first hour saw a lot of alternative, pop, and dance tunes—most of which I'd never heard of but loved listening to. The second hour varied between some rap, hip-hop, rock, and techno, not all of which I loved, but I kept the radio on largely to see what song was coming next—and was rarely disappointed.
My big bummer so far is the lack of favoriting songs that aren't available in the Apple Music streaming catalog—some of the tracks, like Courtney Barnett's Dead Fox, would be an instant-buy for me. But there simply isn't a way right now to bookmark artists or songs that aren't on Apple Music's streaming catalog.
I'm sure it has to do with streaming/purchasing rights and the like, but at the least, maybe favoriting an unlicensed track adds it to a "songs you want to check out," or an iTunes wishlist? I'm hearing so much stuff I want to listen to again, but at the moment, I'm limited to just screenshotting the Music app's Now Playing screen.
There's a lot of good stuff coming up on Beats 1 today, including Londoner Julie Adenuga's first broadcast and the first of the custom shows: St Vincent's Mixtape Delivery Service. (St Vincent—doing her best Serial impression during the tease—builds mixtapes for listeners who write in with their life situations, like studying for an exam, or moving, or breaking up with a loved one.) I, for one, am going to keep listening for awhile. It's great work music!
What about you folks—are you grooving along to Beats 1? What do you think? Let's chat about this.
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Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.