Apple must really be nostalgic for radio. Its newly launched Beats 1 station is censoring songs just like a traditional radio station, even though FCC indecency regulations don't apply to Apple's online music streams. It's a frustrating decision that'll subject listeners to the often awkward, clean versions of explicit songs, but it's hardly surprising.
Explicit songs can still be streamed through Apple Music
Plenty of networks censor their own content, as has long been happening on cable. For many, it's likely a way to stay in advertisers' good graces — and it's certainly possible that ads will show up on Beats 1 eventually, especially since it's available for free. As Apple and Zane Lowe have made abundantly clear, the station also streams worldwide, so censoring explicit language could be a matter of playing it safe rather than hoping the content flies everywhere it's played.
Censored tracks were playing during Beats 1's premiere, and Apple has confirmed to BuzzFeed News that clean tracks are being played globally. It's certainly a choice that many listeners — perhaps the crowd that isn't used to listening to radio — would have preferred Apple make a different decision on. Of course, Apple Music subscribers can always stream the explicit track. Although, they may still wind up looking at censored artwork.