The Beats 1 Apple Music radio station has been quite the success, with ex-BBC DJ Zane Lowe heading up a team of DJs around the world and playing a range of music, both big hits, and relatively unknown songs.
It looks, however, as though Apple is looking to capitalize on the success of the Beats 1 radio station, and has filed trademarks for Beats 2, 3, 4, and 5, and the B2, B3, B4 and B5 word marks that go along with them.
All of the trademarks have been assigned to “Beats Electronics, LLC,” and they have the same logos as the Beats 1 station, with the number obviously changed. They are listed under the Broadcasting categories, and suggest that Apple is looking to expand its radio offering.
“Goods and Services: broadcasting and transmission of voice, data, images, music, audio, video, multimedia, television, and radio by means of telecommunications networks; broadcast and transmission of streamed music, audio, video, and multimedia content by means of telecommunications networks; matching users for the transfer of music, audio, video, and multimedia by means of telecommunications networks; providing access to websites, databases, electronic bulletin boards, on-line forums, directories, music, and video and audio programs.”
According to reports, Apple’s contracts with record labels enable the company to create as many as five additional radio stations similar to Beats 1 without needing to renegotiate terms. It’s possible that Apple could use the other Beats radio stations to launch around the world, and the stations could feature other DJs, could launch for specific genres, or even perhaps for specific languages.
The news comes shortly after a report from MacRumors, which highlighted that Apple had registered domains such as beats2.com.cn and beats2.hk in a number of countries around the world. Beats 1 currently broadcasts around the world, however not every country obviously speaks English, so Apple might want to launch radio stations in other widely spoken languages, such as Spanish or French.
Currently, Beats 1 is the only radio station that Apple Music offers. As mentioned, it’s led by ex-BBC DJ Zane Lowe, however other DJs on the station include the likes of Ebro Darden, who broadcasts from New York, and Julia Adenuga, who broadcasts from London. There is a variety of music played on Beats 1, however the majority skews more towards hip-hop and rap, according to a recent report from Quartz.
Beats 1’s popularity is somewhat surprising, and for many it seems like a step back from what seems like the future – music streaming. With a radio station, users can’t choose a song that they like and play it on repeat. Sometimes users even have to listen to a song they don’t like. Despite this, there are some big advantages to radio, the main one being music discovery.
No matter how hard streaming services try, music discovery services within those streaming services just aren’t as good as they could be, and it will likely be a few years before they are. Because of this, it does make sense that Beats 1 skews more towards hip-hop and rap, and it would make sense if other Beats stations skewed more towards other genres.
Those into hip-hop and rap can now turn towards Beats 1, featuring DJs that listeners trust, to discover new music. It may not work for everyone, but by choosing the most popular music genres to start off with, Apple has found success.
Still, some have criticized Apple for the perceived lack of diversity on Beats 1, suggesting that the station should play a much wider variety of music, especially because of the fact that the station often plays some of its hits over and over again.
The Weeknd’s hit “Can’t Feel My Face,” for example, had been played 107 times at the time of the Quartz article, in August. At the time, the song had only been out for around two months.
Only time will tell what Apple’s new Beats stations look like, but it is likely they won’t launch for at least a few months. It will also be interesting to see if Apple looks to bring in any popular DJs like it did for Beats 1, or if it sticks to other methods for content curation.