Everything You Need to Know About Beats 1, the Centerpiece of Apple Music


The workings of Apple Music, the company’s higher-than-high-profile streaming service that debuted yesterday, will feel familiar to those who use competitors like Spotify (most people) or Tidal (not so many people). In addition to on-demand streaming and automated recommendations, though, Apple Music’s most distinctive feature is Beats 1, a 24-hour radio station staffed not just by real, live human beings, but DJs and artists ranging from Jaden Smith and St. Vincent, to former BBC Radio 1 star Zane Lowe and Hot 97’s Ebro Darden. Here are the basics of the new station, from how to start streaming to what’s coming up this week.

How to Get It

First things first: Beats 1 streams through Apple Music, and Apple Music requires iOS 8.4 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch and iTunes version 12.2 for desktop. As of this writing, the mobile update is available for download, while the desktop version is expected sometime this afternoon. As with all Apple updates, this one requires a few minutes and a healthy chunk of storage space, so delete all unnecessary apps/files/etc. before hitting install.

Zane Lowe Is On Board

Though he might be best-known to American audiences for conducting the most compelling Kanye interview of the Yeezus press cycle, Lowe is a 13-year veteran of BBC’s Radio 1 and arguably the UK’s most influential DJ. Now based in Los Angeles, Lowe kicked off his, and Beats 1’s, first broadcast with Spring King’s “City,” then went on to deem Pharrell’s “Freedom” a “World Record”—an analog to BBC Radio’s signature “Hottest Record in the World.” (He then played the track a second time, another Lowe signature.) The episode is available in full on Apple Music, though Lowe’s former employer amusingly offers a recap and The Verge put together an all-Zane, no-music version. From here on out, Lowe takes the air for an hour at 12 AM and 12 PM, Monday through Thursday.

Ebro Darden Joins from Hot 97

The next high-profile host to go live, Darden comes to Beats 1 from a seven-year stint as Program Director for WQHT, better known to New Yorkers and the hip-hop literate as Hot 97. Known for co-anchoring the station’s morning show, Darden will be striking out on his own with Apple, bringing with him an encyclopedic knowledge of hip-hop and New York, where he’ll remain, and a history of well-regarded artist interviews, like his 2013 sit-down with Mister Cee following Cee’s resignation from Hot 97. Listeners can hear him at 6 AM and 6 PM, Monday through Thursday.

Julie Adenuga Gets Her First Mass Audience

Rounding out the station’s all-star DJ line-up, Adenuga will broadcast from London. With half a decade in the business, she’s the youngest of the streaming service’s three anchors, but while she may not be as established as Lowe or Darden, she’s still a highly anticipated part of the new platform. Adenuga started at Rinse FM, a onetime pirate radio station based in the UK, back in 2010; since then, she’s interviewed everyone from Disclosure to Wiley and hosted Rinse’s primetime 4 PM to 7 PM show for three years. At Beats 1, she’ll be on at 3 AM and 3 PM, Monday through Thursday.

St. Vincent Has a “Mixtape Delivery Service”

In addition to its regular DJs, Beats 1 also boasts a formidable line-up of artist MCs. First up was St. Vincent, whose Mixtape Delivery Service had its freshman outing this morning at 10 AM. After fielding requests for personalized, mood-specific playlists in June, Annie Clark spent the hour introducing Piper, an 11-year-old girl who loves to dance, to songs she thought Piper might be too young to know — think Devo’s “Whip It” and Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” The full playlist is available here, but don’t miss the full episode on Apple Music: the banter between Clark and Piper is top-notch.

There’s More to Come

Josh Homme, Elton John, Ellie Goulding, and Dr. Dre are just a handful of the other artists with their own Beats 1 shows; Homme’s goes live at 10 PM tonight. While there aren’t as many details about their programs, they’ll presumably resemble Clark’s: hourlong playlists punctuated by commentary from the hosts themselves. Beats 1 will also include shows like “Gratitude,” featuring a different artist each week paying tribute to one of their influences, and programs from non-artists like Vice Music. The lineup for the next few days is up on Apple Music’s Tumblr.