When Beats 1 Radio launches next week as part of Apple Music, it will feature programs by artists including Dr. Dre and Elton John. The former artist’s show will be called “The Pharmacy,” while the latter will host “Elton John’s Rocket Hour,” according to The New York Times.
Other artists and celebrities who will have their own one- and two-hour radio shows include Pharrell Williams, Drake, St. Vincent, Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, Disclosure and Jaden Smith.
BBC DJ Zane Lowe will lead the charge alongside Ebro Darden, of New York’s Hot 97, and London-based Julie Adenuga.
“Zane is a genuine enthusiast; this is not a fake thing,” John told the paper. “He’s a fan, and he’s a fan who’s got the opportunity to make his position in the world work for other people. He genuinely loves music, and that’s my kind of guy.”
The paper reports that the idea for Beats 1 Radio came from Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, who was previously Beats’ chief creative officer and continues to serve as a designer at Apple Music. After growing disillusioned with the way that digital music had made it so “everything gets so nichey” when it comes to playlists, hearing the way Lowe conducted himself on the BBC inspired the singer to question radio’s role in music discovery. “I wondered if in today’s world there is still a place for monoculture,” Reznor told the Times. “Can that still exist?”
New York reports that the singer had been flying to Apple HQ in Cupertino to work with Beats 1’s designers and developers since the tech giant had acquired Beats Music. Beats 1 will launch as a component of Apple Music in the program’s app along with the social-media platform Connect next Tuesday.
One of the first big interviews that the radio station will broadcast will be Lowe’s recent encounter with Eminem, in which they discussed the rapper’s music for the new film Southpaw and his experiences as a boxer. The air time for the interview has yet to be announced.
Apple Music arrives amid several controversies surrounding streaming music. Aside from fierce competition from rivals like Spotify and Tidal, who have each expanded in original programming, the service already drew criticism from outspoken artists’ rights advocate Taylor Swift.
The pop star said she would not allow the service to feature her music during its planned three-month free trial period – before it transitions into either an premium service or scaled-down free version – since it would not be compensating artists for streamed music during that period. Apple made a quick about-face and said it would pay artists, and the company’s exec Eddy Cue told Rolling Stone that the note “solidified quickly that we needed a change.” Swift has subsequently agreed to allow her recent 1989 album to be streamed on the service.