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International radio trends from the radio futurologist


Apple gets serious about online radio? And join me in a webinar

· 3.8 minutes to read

Thought Apple wasn’t very keen on online radio? Yeah, me too. Apple Beats 1, the company’s radio station is five years old: it launched June 30, 2015. It was a difficult, eclectic, listen - and I suspected it was more of a tool for Apple to promote its relationships with music artists, rather than a thing normal people would actually listen to.

Now, Apple are getting serious - it’s now called Apple Music 1 (though the logo, correctly, calls it Apple Music 1 Radio). And they’ve added two more stations - Apple Music Hits, and Apple Music Country.

I’ve spent some time listening to Apple Music Hits, which is a much, much more accessible service. It seems to broken into short, one-hour, shows. I listened to Alanis Radio, presented by Alanis Morissette. This is a slickly edited piece of output - she introduces Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights explaining how the Brontë Sisters worked, and in the background, the short two-bar intro for the song was repeated as a music bed, allowing her to finish her story and then hit the vocals. There are no “ums”, no “ers”, no clutter - it’s been excellently polished and produced. But annoyingly, many of the tracks aren’t played in full for some reason - Wuthering Heights makes it to the instrumental break, and then Alanis Morissette jumps in to tell us a story about Paul Simon. The entire hour is unbranded as being on a radio station - instead, it’s “Alanis Radio”, and one suspects its built as a podcast-like on-demand service. (Of note: the word 'f*cked’ was also bleeped. Isn’t that ironic? Don’cha’think?).

Now-playing information works properly, with artwork switching as soon as new tracks start playing - rather different from the original incarnation of Beats 1, and something I wasn’t too impressed by.

These three stations are free for anyone with an Apple device - you’ll find them in the Apple Music app under the “radio” tab. As an alternative to mindless algorithm radio, they’re quite good.


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