Just-spotted trademark applications from Apple-owned Beats Electronics, LLC point to Apple’s plans to introduce more live streaming radio stations to its Apple Music service to accompany its 24-hour station, Beats 1. It appears Apple’s radio lineup may be expanding to include Beats 2, Beats 3, Beats 4, and Beats 5, according to the applications filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in November.
The applications were first reported by French blog Consomac, then picked up by Appleinsider, which noted that there are applications for both the names of the stations themselves (“Beats 2,” e.g.) as well as the logos, which include a stylized letter “b” followed by the station number.
The news is not all that surprising to those who have been following the developments with Apple Music in recent months, as a report from The Verge in August indicated that Beats 1 may not be Apple’s only official station for very long. According to its sources, as part of Apple’s deal with labels for Apple Music, the Cupertino-based company had negotiated licenses for up to five additional stations to launch following Beats 1, without requiring amendments to its deals with the labels.
What we don’t yet know is what content the stations will feature – that is, whether they may be focused more on a given region or a particular musical genre, or something else entirely. The trademark applications don’t offer any insight into this matter either, as each features the same, generic description of a service used to broadcast “voice, data, images, music, audio, video, multimedia, television, and radio.”
Beats 1 so far has been an interesting experiment for Apple, as it offers a way for iOS, Android and desktop users to listen to free, live radio curated by DJs, led by Zane Lowe, who select the musical content programmed for the station. The station itself serves to complement Apple Music’s larger offering, as it serves as a place for artist interviews, the launch of new tracks and albums, and the live-streaming home for Apple’s Music Festival, in addition to being a platform for music discovery.
What’s unclear is how much impact Beats 1 has had to date on bringing new users to Apple Music. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in October that Apple Music had 15 million users, including 6.5 million paying subscribers.
However, when it comes to being consumers’ preferred paid music streaming service, Spotify still reigns with 20 million paying users and 75 million active users. Around the same time as Apple was talking subscriber numbers, a report from App Annie also found that Spotify had snagged the #1 Top Grossing spot in the U.S. App Store for the first time.
Instead of human-curated live radio, Spotify’s music discovery focus is more personalized, with algorithms that track your listens and then craft a unique list of weekly recommendations as well as local concerts you may like. This has prompted a highly devoted following on Spotify – when the users’ Discover Weekly playlists arrived late due to a glitch this fall, people were downright furious. But when Beats 1 itself went down during its exclusive coverage of the VMA nominees announcement, there was decidedly less fervor.