Beats 1 is Radio 1

BBC Radio 1 has by far the strongest brand imaging and jingle package of any radio station in the UK. From the opening tones of Newsbeat, to the general brand sound, it sounds professional, crisp and clean. It’s just what you want in a radio station.

It’s difficult to find another radio station which comes close. Capital FM, with it’s many subsidiaries across the UK, has a kind of similar sound, but there’s nothing quite like Radio 1.

THAT WAS, until Beats 1 turned up and started broadcasting at the end of June.

It’s difficult to actually find jingles used by Beats 1 online (I would assume Apple have made these themselves and Apple being Apple, they’ll be very protective over the brand). But listen to Beats 1 for around ten minutes and you can see how the hirings from the BBC station have influenced the sound.

How successful Beats 1 will actually be, no-one really knows. The ambitious project of launching a global radio station for everyone to listen to is great, but there has been one surprising thing I’ve picked up on since launch.

As of time of writing, Beats 1 has nearly 300,000 followers on Twitter. Contrast that with the 2.29 million followers of the BBC’s Radio 1, that gives you a scope of the extent of their problem in playing catch up. BBC Radio 1 doesn’t even try to be global, it just is. Thanks to the BBC’s excellent policy of sharing iPlayer Radio with the rest of the world, Radio 1 has grown a fan base much beyond your usual UK listeners. Beats 1 is trying desperately to claim some of that territory for their own.

It’s worth pointing out that the @beats1 Twitter feed was never actually followed by me, it must have been renamed that from iTunes Music, or they somehow converted over followers to the new station, because I definitely never followed it. This means even less of those 300,000 have deliberately followed.

Over one month in and you’re not breaking half a million, on a service which Eddy Cue said would have millions of listeners? That’s worrying. None of them are devoted enough to follow what your station is doing beyond opening the Music app and seeing what’s playing.

I’m a devoted Apple fan, even I still only listen to BBC Radio 1 in the car. If I really want to play some music through my phone, then out comes Spotify through the bluetooth connection.

There’s only one way to tell though, really. See what Tim Cook/Eddy Cue say on stage in the September Apple event. If they talk about the amount of people “starting streams” on Beats 1, then you know they’re in trouble. Starting streams means nothing, that’s just people tuning in for a few seconds. If they can show listener accumulative data of hundreds of thousands, possibly even millions of hours, they may be on to a winner.


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