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Apple Music’s Beats 1 isn’t Just Radio on the Web

2015 07 06beats1 2

2015 07 06 beats1

Dawn Chmielewski, writing over at ReCode:

Zane Lowe’s debut on Apple’s Beats 1 radio reminded me of what has been missing from my iTunes music collection: Personality.

The former BBC Radio 1 DJ played to my anticipation, spending a long radio minute talking about how he selected the first song to be played on Beats 1 — a release from the rock band Spring King from Manchester, England, that’s little known beyond its fan base but whose track “City” has gradually built momentum. The sort of thing, Lowe said, that’s needed to kick this whole thing off.

“Just like that! To 100 countries right now, broadcasting on Apple Music,” said Lowe, his voice bristling with a kinetic energy. “To the early adopters. To those hungry for music. From town to town, city to city, into the unknown we go.”

I felt swept up into a global music party, as Lowe ticked off the location of listeners tuning in from London, Antwerp, Seattle, Munich, Helsinki, Barcelona, Denmark, Miami. The music selections were as diverse as the geography, as Lowe played tracks from Gallant, a soul singer from Los Angeles, followed by Slaves, a punk band from Kent, Jack Garratt, a British pop singer, and an exclusive first broadcast of Pharrell Williams’ new single, “Freedom.”

Listening to the inaugural broadcast of Apple’s livestreamed radio, I felt part of some larger, shared music experience. Judging from the conversation on Twitter, I wasn’t alone, as the music cognoscenti remarked on the song selection and delivery, and picked up on the subtext of Lowe’s “We Salute You” tribute to AC/DC, whose catalog has not been available on streaming services until now.


I’ve been Tweeting about this. I agree.

Of course, broadcasting radio over the Internet isn’t new — just ask Russ Hanneman of “Silicon Valley” — but a few components make Apple’s endeavor unique.

Namely: the size of the audience, Apple’s “ecosystem,” and round-the-clock DJs.

The sheer number of people listening to Beats 1 on their iOS devices means, as Chmielewski writes, that you’re part of a wider audience, which means you can interact with DJs and fellow listeners on Twitter, for example.

And having the tunes play on your iPhone means if a song you’ve never heard comes on, you can easily click through (even if the screen is locked) and favorite it, add it to a playlist, view the album (and, of course, buy it).

But for me, the most compelling component is the DJs themselves. I’ve come across more new artists I’m interested in during the first week or so of Apple Music than I typically would in several months listening to Rdio, a music streaming service I’ve used for a couple of years now.

The difference: On Rdio, which lacks human DJs, I’d usually explore various artists but gravitated to those I knew, typically playing the same music over and over.

But I’m drawn to the Beats 1 station on Apple Music, often hear songs I wouldn’t normally listen to repeated a few times — just like in the old days of radio — and they grow on me, for instance.

Here are a few links for more reading:


Jim Stewart on Tim Cook’s Coming Out

The New York Times‘s Jim Stewart on Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, who said in a BloombergBusinessweek essay published last week that he’s gay:

Tim Cook’s declaration on Thursday that “I’m proud to be gay” made him the first publicly gay chief executive of a Fortune 500 company. But Mr. Cook isn’t just any chief executive. And Apple isn’t any company. It’s one of the most profitable companies in the Fortune 500 and ranks No. 1 on the magazine’s annual ranking of the most admired companies.

As Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, put it, “He’s chief executive of the Fortune One. Something has consequences because of who does it, and this is Tim Cook and Apple. This will resonate powerfully.”

Trevor Burgess, the openly gay chief executive of C1 Financial in Florida, and one of the first publicly gay chief executives of a public company, said Tim Cook used “the metaphor of laying a brick on the ‘path towards justice.’ ” But, “This is more like 600 million bricks,” Mr. Burgess said. “He has the most influential voice in global business.”

Worth a read.


New Court Filings on Apple CEO Tim Cook and the DOJ’s E-Books Suit

2013 03 12 tim cook

UPDATE: March 13: Judge Cote ruled today that Cook must testify, Reuters reports.

I have just reviewed some public court documents that provide more details on Apple CEO Tim Cook and the Department of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit against the company.

As you may have read in the news, the Department of Justice alleged in a suit filed in April 2012 that Apple and several book publishers illegally worked together to raise e-book prices in an effort to combat Amazon.com, which had gained dominance over the e-book market. All of the publishers have settled. The Cupertino, California-based company is the sole remaining defendant.

As Bloomberg reported on March 8 (Friday), recent court filings show that the government wants Apple CEO Tim Cook to testify in the case.

The newest court filings, posted today, provide additional insight into the case the DOJ is making to depose Cook, and the reasons that Apple’s lawyers are using to try to shield him from testifying.

In a March 6 letter to U.S. District Judge Denise L. Cote, filed today, the DOJ argued that “While subsequent discovery only has confirmed the need for Mr. Cook’s deposition, Apple continues to refuse to make Mr. Cook available.”

The government says it has offered various “accommodations in order to minimize any burden on Mr. Cook,” such as “limiting the length of the deposition and providing him a list of examination topics in advance — all of which have been rejected.”

The DOJ letter says that as an “executive team member and confidant” of the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Cook “is likely to have highly relevant information regarding Apple’s decision to enter the e-books market and its related strategies that are at issue in this case.”

The government says Cook received updates on Apple’s “efforts to move the entire e-books industry to an agency model, and even received boastful e-mails from Mr. Jobs that Apple had ‘helped stir things up in the publishing world.” The government adds that Cook and Jobs would likely have had private discussions about e-books that “cannot be discovered other than through Mr. Cook’s deposition.”

The DOJ says that Apple has countered that any discussions the two might have had would not be relevant because Jobs’s “statements themselves are not relevant to this action.”

Next, In an emailed letter dated March 11 (yesterday) to Judge Cote, a New York-based attorney writing “on behalf of Apple” opposed the DOJ’s request to depose Cook, cross-moving for a protective order.

The attorney cites a legal standard from past cases that “disfavor[s] apex executive depositions” where “the executive has no unique personal knowledge of relevant facts…lower-level executives can provide the same information…” and “the party seeking discovery has not exhausted alternative information sources…”

The letter references a declaration from Cook stating that he “has no unique knowledge about Apple’s decision to enter the e-books market and recalls no relevant ‘private conversations’ with Mr. Jobs.”

The letter continues: “The complaint does not reference Mr. Cook. None of the 29 witnesses deposed to date testified that Mr. Cook played any role in relevant events. And no publisher witness even mentioned Mr. Cook at his or her deposition.”

The letter goes on to argue that Cook had only a “tangental role as an outsider to the issues in dispute in this case.” The letter also notes that in all, 11 Apple executives will be deposed, and that “on March 12 and 13, the government will depose Eddy Cue, the senior Apple executive who reported directly to and communicated regularly with Mr. Jobs about the day-to-day development of the iBookstore.”

It continues, “Two days later, it will depose a member of Mr. Jobs’ executive team, former mobile software SVP Scott Forstall. And, as the court will recall, the government deposed Apple’s chief marketing offer Phil Schiller (over Apple’s objection) last December…”

“The government should not be permitted to depose Apple’s current CEO on a fishing expedition for what would be, at best, cumulative testimony.”

Note: I have bolded the names above for easier reading.

(Image: “Apple CEO Tim Cook,” via Wikimedia Commons.)


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