Apple Music’s initial three-month free trial period runs out at the end of September. With more than $200 billion in cash, the company obviously can afford to take its time to win the streaming wars. Unlike Tidal, for example, Apple has realized that focusing solely on exclusives isn’t the best way to win the end game. Most people still don’t want to pay for music, so there has to be a better way in.
Enter Beats 1. Apple wants you to keep using Apple Music by creating programming you can’t find elsewhere. In addition to three anchor DJs — Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden, and Julie Adenuga — which provide daily shows dedicated to interviews and worldwide “exclusive” records, Beats 1 boasts a roster of celebrity DJs who attempt to produce must-listen radio.
Run the Jewels talk about unicorns vs. dragons while debuting tracks from their Meow the Jewels project, while St. Vincent makes custom mixtapes, A-Trak spins live sets, and Q-Tip plays classic hip-hop. TL;DR, there should be something for everyone.
The biggest heavyweights have been Dr. Dre and Drake. Dre used his show, “The Pharmacy,” as a platform to announce his first album in 16 years, Compton. Not only did this get people talking about his music again, it reeled them in to “listen together” when it was released on Apple Music. Just like any must-see TV show, if you missed the initial stream, you were left out of the conversation.
All you had to do was check Twitter. The conversation had already begun about who bodied which track and whether Kendrick was going at Drake.
Streaming numbers matched the buzz. According to The New York Times, it was streamed 25 million times worldwide during its first week — an impressive number, considering it was only available on Apple Music — and it finished second to Luke Bryan in sales, despite being an iTunes exclusive.
As for Drake, from the beginning, he’s used OVO Sound Radio to debut music from his OVO artists. And, of course, when Meek Mill accused Drake of using a ghostwriter, 6 God could respond quickly with “Charged Up” and “Back To Back.” By the time “Wanna Know” was finally released, Drake had already won, allowing him to take a victory lap at OVO Fest.
In each of these cases, you felt like you were missing out on the discussion if you didn’t hear the songs when they first came out. And here’s the thing: Even if you waited for other sources, Apple Music was still the driving force behind the moment.
Champagne Papi continued this tradition with What a Time to Be Alive, a joint mixtape with Future. First came a convenient “leak” that had the internet going nuts.