Beats 1 may end up just one of Apple Music's radio stations

Apple has reportedly inked a deal with record labels that will allow it to expand its streaming radio station offering to five additional channels, if it determines Beats 1 is worth expanding.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Apple's Beats 1 radio station may soon be flanked by other Beats stations, according to a report. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Apple Music's radio station, Beats 1, which mimics traditional radio with DJs, fan requests and more, could eventually be one of a handful of streaming options available to users.

In deals it's signed with record labels, Apple is allowed to expand its streaming radio stations to five additional channels, The Verge is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of its plans. The deals would mean that Beats 1, which is live 12 hours a day and recorded the other half of the day, could be flanked by other radio stations without requiring Apple to renegotiate its music-licensing deals with labels.

Apple declined to comment on the report.

Beats 1 is Apple's 24-7 global radio station with DJs in Los Angeles, New York and London. The station is hosted by radio personalities and selected guests and shares music curated by "music experts," Apple says. Expanding to more stations would allow Apple to create genre-specific channels and expand its slate of DJs. The move could also help Apple expand its DJ presence globally so it has a true, live radio station streaming all day, every day.

Beats 1 is one of the standout features in Apple Music, thanks to its penchant for streaming catchy songs and its team of popular DJs. The service is headlined by popular LA DJ Zane Lowe, but also includes Ebro Darden in New York and Julie Adenuga in London. The station is an attempt by Apple to not only tread on Internet radio stations, but also traditional radio and even SiriusXM's own stations. More than anything, it's designed to keep users on Apple Music.

Apple unveiled Apple Music in June at the Worldwide Developers Conference. In addition to access to Beats 1, Apple Music includes curated playlists designed for users based on their musical tastes, as well as the ability to access every song in the iTunes Store and add them to the user's personal library. The service is currently being offered as a free trial for three months, but will cost $9.99 per month for individual plans and $14.99 for a family plan that allows up to six people to access the service simultaneously.

Unlike many Apple Music features, including the ability for offline listening and the ability to add music content to the user's library, Beats 1 does not require an Apple Music subscription. It's unlikely that Apple would change that policy if it adds more stations in the future and would instead continue to use Beats 1 as a feeder for users to try out and ultimately pay for Apple Music.

Apple has remained quiet on any future plans for Apple Music. At his company's earnings call last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook would only say that "millions and millions" of people around the globe have signed up for the service.