Differences Between Beats 1 Radio and Apple Music Radio: Explained

George Tinari

So, you downloaded iOS 8.4 on your iPhone or iPad and there it is, Apple Music. It’s hiding behind that new white Music icon on your home screen. You tap the Radio tab to see what’s changed and there isn’t a whole lot new, but Apple is heavily shoving this Beats 1 radio station in your face.

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Apple rebranded iTunes Radio while also launching Beats 1 radio | via Shutterstock

Furthermore, even though the radio stations look similar, there isn’t any branding of iTunes. Instead Radio has become a part of Apple Music. What’s so special about Beats 1 and what’s the difference between that and Apple Music Radio as a whole? There are a few key differences.

Apple Music Radio

Apple Music Radio is essentially just a rebranding of iTunes Radio. It functions almost identically. Whether you’re on iOS in the Music app or on your computer in iTunes, Radio has become a part of Apple Music as Apple seems to slowly be letting go of its pride in the iTunes brand name.

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In Apple Music Radio, you can continue to create new stations based on individual songs, albums, artists or genres. There are also a number of themed radio stations Apple has to offer, including everything from Disney to Workout Anthems.

When you listen to Radio in Apple Music, you can star your favorite songs that come on air or purchase it right there from iTunes if it’s available.

Tip:Apple Music subscribers also get unlimited song skips in Radio.

Beats 1 Radio Station

Beats 1 is Apple’s own radio station using the Beats brand. It launched alongside Apple Music. It’s a single radio station within Apple Music, and isn’t an entire radio service like Apple Music Radio is. It also doesn’t have on-demand listening or skips; rather, it’s more of a traditional live radio broadcast.

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Beats 1 broadcasts live to over 100 countries around the world, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Apple says that the target audience of the radio station is people who enjoy listening to new music and love music in general regardless of genre or popularity. As long as its relatively new, it can make the cut for Beats 1.

It’s essentially supposed to be your go-to station when you aren’t in the mood for anything particular, you just want to hear some music.

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Apple keeps the Beats 1 program schedule on its Tumblr page, which consists of either two-hour worldwide DJ shows or one-hour regular programming from the stations in Los Angeles, CA or New York City. Featured DJs include Zane Lowe in Los Angeles, Ebro Darden in New York City and Julie Adenuga in London, England.

You can stream Beats 1 radio with or without an Apple Music subscription in iTunes on your computer or the Music app on iPhone or iPad.

Primary Differences

Ultimately, Beats 1 radio is a live station for over 100 countries around the world within Apple Music Radio.

Apple Music Radio itself is a rebranding of the iTunes Radio service. You can listen to both the standard radio stations and Beats 1 with or without an Apple Music subscription, but you need a subscription to enable unlimited skips.

Apple Music costs $9.99 per month, but your first three months are free when you sign up.

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George Tinari

Written By

George Tinari

George Tinari has written about technology for over seven years: guides, how-tos, news, reviews and more. He's usually sitting in front of his laptop, eating, listening to music or singing along loudly to said music. You can also follow him on Twitter @gtinari if you need more complaints and sarcasm in your timeline.