Everything You Need to Know About Beats 1

Zane Lowe
Zane Lowe, one of the Beats 1 DJs.

 Ollie Millington / Getty Images

Miss the old days of great radio, or looking to hear the best new songs and the hottest DJs? Then Apple's Beats 1 is for you. Whether it's been articles about it, TV commercials touting it, or the actual music played on it, Beats 1 is a hot topic. But what exactly it is, and how it's different from Apple Music, may not be as clear.

What Is Beats 1?

It's easiest to think of Beats 1 as a streaming radio station. Unlike a lot of streaming radio stations, which are Internet versions of a broadcast going out over traditional radio waves, Beats 1 exists only on the Internet. Apple founded it as one of the major elements of its Apple Music streaming service.

The headline feature of Apple Music is the all-you-can-stream subscription music service built into iTunes and the iOS Music app, but Beats 1 is another major component of Apple Music. It's part of Apple's focus on human curation of content. Instead of employing algorithms to try to learn what people like, which is the approach used by Pandora and Spotify (among others), Apple hired music experts and uses their knowledge and taste to craft playlists and streaming stations. Beats 1 is the highest-profile example of this approach.

How Do You Get It?

Beats 1 is available through iTunes 12.2 and higher and the Music app on iOS 8.4 and up. 

What Does It Cost?

Good news: Beats 1 is free! While it is part of Apple Music, you don't have to sign up for the $10/month streaming service to enjoy Beats 1. As long as you have the right version of iTunes or the iOS, you can listen.

How Do You Listen to It?

Make sure you're connected to the Internet and then follow these steps:

Follow The Link

If you're on a computer that has iTunes installed, click the link to go right to Beats 1.

In iTunes

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. Click Music in the top left corner.
  3. Click Radio just below the window at the top that shows what songs are playing.
  4. Click Beats 1.
  5. Click any of the featured shows to listen.

On iOS

  1. Tap the Music app to open it.
  2. Tap Radio in the bottom row of buttons.
  3. Tap Beats 1.
  4. Tap any of the featured shows to listen.

Can You Listen to Beats 1 Offline?

No. While you can save songs from Apple Music for offline playback if you have a subscription, Beats 1 can only be streamed when you're connected to the Internet. 

What Does It Have to Do With Beats Music and Beats by Dre?

Apple bought Beats in 2014 to serve as the foundation of Apple Music. The Beats Music app was absorbed into the Apple Music app and service.

How Is It Different from iTunes Radio?

Beats 1 is like a radio station: it's programmed by DJs, different shows are scheduled throughout the day, the listener doesn't have much control over what gets played. On the other hand, iTunes Radio is more like Pandora: the user can create their own stations based on artists or songs they like, fine-tune the stations by giving feedback on what gets played, and can skip songs.

The iTunes Radio-style stations can be created and used with Apple Music, too. You'll find them in the Radio section of the Music app or iTunes.

Who Are the Beats 1 DJs?

Beats 1 is led by 3 main DJs: Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden, and Julie Adenuga. Each of them has a show on Beats 1 every Monday-Thursday (Adenuga also has a show on Friday).

Who Else Has Shows on Beats 1?

The roster of guest DJs changes each month, so there's always new music, new shows, and new hosts. Past guest DJs have included Dr. Dre, Elton John, Josh Homme, Pharrell, Q-Tip, and St. Vincent.

For a full list of each month's guests DJs, and the schedule of their shows, check out Apple's Beats 1 Tumblr.

Where Are the Beats 1 Studios?

Beats 1 is based out of three studios, in London, Los Angeles, and New York. 

Is It All New Every 24 Hours?

Apple has been touting Beats 1 as Worldwide and 24/7. Technically, this is true, but it doesn't mean quite what you'd think. Beats 1 offers 12 hours of new programming every day. That 12 hours is then repeated so that it's new to the other half of the world's timezones. So, don't expect to be able to hear new shows and music for 24 straight hours, but every day will be new.

Can You Request Songs?

Yes. But like with traditional radio stations, just because you request that Beats 1 play a song doesn't mean that they will. Still, it never hurts to ask. To request a song on Beats 1, simply call the request phone number for your country/region.

Here's a full list of the request phone numbers. You can also send requests for songs via iMessage at beats1radio@icloud.com.

Can You Skip Songs?

No. Because Beats 1 is like a traditional radio station, you can't skip songs you don't want to hear.

What Countries Is It Available In?

Beats 1 is available in over 100 countries, according to Apple. Here's a full list of where you can tune in.