So like TIDAL, Apple will have a tough time selling people on the music subscription, but it’s having a far easier time getting them to listen to old-fashioned radio. Beats 1, the free radio station built into the Apple Music app, is turning out to be a surprise hit.
The tech community has been praising Beats 1. Computerworld lauded the “surprising genius” of “an always-there global shared content experience.” The Next Web called it “exactly what radio should be.” AdAge proposed using the word “visionary” for Beats 1.
Surprisingly, the idea is nothing new. The personality-driven online radio station took a page (maybe two) from SiriusXM’s playbook and expanded it globally.
Even Wall Street seems to have taken notice. Investors are likely to believe a strong Apple Music could affect other streaming services. Accordingly, shares of Pandora dropped 14.9 percent in the 19 trading days since being introduced during the WWDC keynote on June 9. Other than the announcement and launch of Apple Music, no event or events stand out as an obvious cause for this decline.
To get a rough idea of the general opinion around Beats 1, Billboard examined 155 tweets dated July 6 with the #Beats1 hash tag and measured their content for positive, neutral or negative sentiment. Tweets without any opinion, such as an identification of a song heard, were not counted. The results were overwhelmingly positive.
— 83.9 percent of the tweets expressed positive sentiment, usually about the host, a song or, most often, the station itself.
— 6.5 percent of the tweets expressed a neutral sentiment.
— 9.7 percent of the tweets expressed a negative sentiment.
Positive tweets contained many different types of opinions. They often offered general praise for Beats 1 using phrases like “love it” and “amazing work.” A number of tweets showed happiness that Zane Lowe had returned to radio since leaving BBC for Apple. Many people expressed pleasure with the music and artists heard. There were some complements on the variety of Beats 1’s programming, such as “very eclectic” and “discovering all types of new music.” Many tweets expressed the belief that Apple had re-created radio.
Negative sentiment often focused on the genre music heard (“way too much hip hop,” “listening to @Beats 1 for about 2 hours now and not one rock n roll song”) and Apple’s decision to play clean versions of songs (“Really #Beats 1 you are playing edited versions of songs?”). A few comments expressed displeasure with song repetition (“Pease stop with the #freedom song”). Some people wrote they didn’t like DJ-hosted radio (“#Beats 1 reminds me why I hate listening to (radio) & use @Pandora_radio instead”).