Apple planning a 24-hour Beats station for Australia?

Staff Writer

Australia could have the world’s first 24-hour Beats station, according to a US report. Currently Beats radio only operates live for 12 hours a day to complement the 24/7 Apple Music streaming service.

But a report in Verge suggests that Apple could be launching five new Beats stations, to be called Beats 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Beats 2 is being earmarked as a 24-hour service in Australia or somewhere in Asia.

Given that Beats 1 has had a better initial response than Apple Music since its June 30 launch, it’s not surprising that Apple would want to expand the brand. Naturally, Apple is refusing to comment on the Verge report.

Under the deal struck with record labels for Beats 1, Apple does not have to renegotiate for the other five. These could broadcast in non-English languages for different countries. Apple has reportedly already registered domains for these stations in various territories.

Until now Beats 1 listeners can hear a show live, and then again when it is rebroadcast 12 hours later. But from this week, Apple’s new Beats 1 Replays feature allows shows to be replayed in their entirety on-demand through Apple Music after they have been broadcast. At this stage the service only applies to select programs, notably the three major shows hosted by Zane Lowe, Julie Agenuga, and Ebro Darden. The shows are found via the Connect tab in Apple Music.

However the replays lack two features of the live shows. They do not include information on individual tracks, nor can listeners “love” songs.

The Verge cites a sources that the per-play rate Apple pays the labels for music played on Beats 1 is “better than Pandora.”

Apple has started marketing campaigns for Apple Music. And its 30 million tracks. As TMN announced recently, it is said to have gained 10 million subscribers in its first month. Labels are said to be “pretty pleased” with the take-up, but are reserving their judgement until the free trial period ends in October. As reported in TMNyesterday, in Australia Telstra users get a free trial for a full 12 months – a world first.

Early indications are that while iTunes’ download rate continues to decline, as is the case with the rest of the industry, Apple Music hasn’t sped up the download drop. But that could change as the take-up on the streaming service accelerates. But if Apple Music ultimately hits its target of 100 million subscribers, record labels won’t be too worried.

Read more in The Music Network here.

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