"1,000 songs in your pocket" was 14 years ago.
On June 30, that library of music will expand to include "all the music you could ever want." While the original iPod thrilled us with 5 GB of portable, on-demand music, my iPhone lets me listen to virtually any song I want to hear, whenever I want to hear it. That luxury has fostered a feeling of complete control over the soundtrack to my day. Whatever mood or situation I'm in, the perfect backing tracks are a few taps away.
When Apple's global radio station, Beats 1, goes live, the company will ask customers to relinquish that control and let someone else determine what they listen to.
In part, at least. Apple Music is the streaming service that will replace Beats Music, and continue to offer the all-you-can-eat, instant-gratification music buffet that customers are used to. I've been a Beats Music customer since day one, and I'm eager to see it reborn as Apple Music. Knowing this, why would I tune into Beats 1 while I'm living the life of Riley with on-demand streaming?
Apple is banking on the conviction that passionate, knowledgeable DJ's will beat any discovery algorithm. Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and Julie Adenuga are the trio who will make those choices. From what I've read in the last few days, they are knowledgable and well-respected in the industry. They're also far from my idea of a radio DJ.
When I was young, radio DJ's were of the "Weather, news, time, traffic, time, weather, news, traffic, time, time, traffic, news, contest at 20 past the hour" variety. I recall enduring 10 minutes of ads to finally get to the music, and then it's a song I hated. Apple's DJ's will be educators as much as entertainers. That part I'm looking forward to.
It's easy to nail the streaming. Presenting a customer with unfamiliar music she or he will want to add to their library is not. In my experience, Pandora failed at this. Rdio was a little better, but not what I'd call successful. Beats Music is the service that most successfully introduced me to new music. Between the curated playlists and the "Sentence" feature -- which lets you fill in variables, Mad Libs-style, that describe what you're in the mood for -- I've become a fan of several artists that were previously unknown to me. If software can do that successfully, one assumes a knowledgeable human will excel.
Beats 1 + CarPlay
This seems like a potential marriage. As CarPlay rolls out, why not integrate Beats 1? I always listen to music on my iPhone while I'm in the car, but I don't want to fiddle with it while I'm driving. If Beats 1 were the default, I could just hit it and go. Maybe even use Siri commands like, "Hey Siri, add this song to my collection."
I was discussing this idea recently with Tom Davenport and he had a clever insight: open the marketplace to stations like BBC, Heart, etc. These become Beats 2, Beats 3 and the content is custom to your location. As Davenport put it:
"Now imagine all music via these stations paying royalties to artists. Apple pwns music publishing."
As I write this we have just over 10 days to experince all of this for ourselves. I'm quite looking forward to it. Apple Music for streaming and Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and Julie Adenuga for everything else. I'm excited.