I can’t remember the last time something from Apple was examined so minutely–but that’s a good thing because it give consumers all kinds of information when making a choice to subscribe to the Apple Music or not.
First, an observation from me.
Since Apple Music’s release on Tuesday, I’ve been listening to a lot of tech podcasts and reading a lot of tech blogs. The most common comment I’ve heard regarding Beats 1 is “I like it. It’s cool that there’s a DJ to talk between songs and explain what’s going on. You can tell that real human beings are behind curating the songs. It’s like when I used to listen to FM radio–and I can’t remember the last time I did that.”
Well, duh. My biggest beef with tech people is that they live inside a bubble. Up until Beats 1 came along, they were prone to saying things like “You still listen to the radio?” Now they’re singing a different tune. Thank you, Apple, Trent Reznor and Zane Lowe for reminding these people how important a good radio announcer can be to your listening experience. An example of this turnaround can be found at Cult of Mac:
So far, Beats 1 has been great. And it’s only been twenty-four hours!
Apple’s new global, 24/7 radio station is everything I hoped for–a discovery-oriented platform showcasing what’s new and what’s good. Of all the features of Apple’s big update to its Music services, Beats 1 is what I looked most forward to.
“Our genre is ‘great,'” explained DJ Zane Lowe on his opening show Tuesday. “That’s all we’re looking for.”
And that’s what I’m looking for, too. In fact, I’m already obsessed with A$AP Rocky, who was played on Lowe’s show and I’d never hear before (yeah, I know I’m sad). A$AP Rock is just one of half-a-dozen new artists I’ve tagged in iTunes for further exploration, including Beck, who I thought I hated.
I’m actually worried how I’m going to keep up. But isn’t this what radio is for?
My hope is that the entire radio industry takes note of what Apple Music is doing with Beats 1 and embraces some of their emerging best practices.
Would you like Apple Music on your Windows PC and your Android device?
What sets Apple Music apart from the competitors? Let’s ask co-designer Trent Reznor.
Pitchfork: What has your day-to-day involvement looked like for this project?
Trent Reznor: It’s kind of shifted over time. Initially it was a lot of sitting with Apple’s design team and some of the iTunes engineers, honing in on strategically and holistically what we were trying to pull off—what features mattered in terms of what we were trying to accomplish with Apple Music. It was a lot of design meetings and overall roadmap things. Then, it started to change into some other roles. In the last several months I’ve been a lot more involved with the messaging and marketing that’s come out—the way we were trying to engage artists and try to explain the service to them in a way that feels right and sits right with people.
Pitchfork: How has this experience with Apple been compared to your experience working with Beats?
TR: That’s interesting. I’ve always been a fan of Apple’s, and I think a lot of the frustration we ran into with Beats Music was trying to pull off something that really needed a budget and a head count and resources that were really beyond what we were cobbling together. Then you put something out in the world, and then you realize now you’ve got the burden of trying to convince people what it is and how to install it and then start the seemingly impossible task of expanding across the world, country by country.
Read the whole interview here.