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Zane Lowe “not sure” if Apple Music needs Beats 1

By | Published on Wednesday 30 September 2015

Zane Lowe

Zane Lowe said yesterday that he “hopes there’s a future” for Beats 1 within Apple Music, but right now he’s “not sure” that it’s needed.

Lowe was being interviewed at the Radio Festival in London by his former boss, Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper. Asked why the Apple Music streaming service even needed a more conventional radio station like Beats 1, the presenter responded: “I’m not sure it does”.

Admitting that they’re currently “making it up as we go along”, he added that he feels it’s “absolutely working right now … and over time we’ll find out why [it’s necessary]”.

Answers may come sooner rather than later though, as Apple Music’s free trial period comes to an end for day-one-adopters today. Yesterday the company sent out emails and push notifications to those users who have already switched off automatic payments for the service, urging them to commit to the £10 monthly subscription.

Beats 1 has been by far the most hyped and discussed part of Apple Music, and will remain available to non-paying users. If the radio station can hold onto and grow a userbase bigger than the on-demand element of Apple Music, but then persuade some of those people to upgrade to the premium service, well, then it would be serving a function for Apple, being a much cheaper to run freemium up-sell platform than that operated by Spotify.

If the radio service is too disconnected from the on-demand streams to achieve up-sell, well, then Lowe will be right to question whether the venture is actually needed long term.