Like lots of curious people, I was tuned into Beats 1 radio yesterday. I caught the very first song and then dipped in and out of the stream all day. I listened to a solid four-hour block from 8PM to midnight ET last night. Over and over, the DJs emphasized the two core principles of Beats 1: it's global and it's live.
Last night at midnight, the live feed switched over to a replay of Zane Lowe's kickoff show. That seemed reasonable, after all this was the very first day, people might want to hear his debut. But when I woke up this morning and put Beats 1 back on, it was still just a stale replay of the first 12 hours.
Zane on repeat
I don't know if this is simply a quirk, an attempt to give the whole world a chance to listen to that magical first day of Beats 1, or if the plan is to play 12 hours of live radio and 12 hours of replays every day. Checking the schedule, it seems like it might be the latter. St. Vincent is scheduled for 9AM this morning, I heard her live at 10PM last night. Josh Homme is scheduled for 10PM tonight and 9AM tomorrow.
Over and over while I've been listening this morning, the DJs have been declaring that they are doing a live show, even though it's actually a replay. There have also been lots of promotional ads declaring that Beats 1 is "broadcasting live" on Apple Music. This might not matter much if you're on the other side of the world and hearing it for the first time, but it's a lame experience for someone like me giving this station a chance to fulfill its promise of 24-hour radio.
The stream is "live" and global, but the DJs aren't
The objective is probably to broadcast each show at roughly the same time in different parts of the world. But the result is that content is also mismatched in some ways to what is actually happening. Ebro Darden was on this morning while I was listening over breakfast. He plugged an upcoming show from St. Vincent, saying that it would be on "tonight" and in a few hours. It might be on for someone "tonight" and yesterday it was truly a few hours away. But this morning the replay of St. Vincent was actually just one hour away.
If Apple wants everyone to have a chance to hear every show that airs on Beats 1, they could make them available for replay, on demand, maybe on some kind of streaming music service. In the meantime, I would love an actual 24-hour radio station with hosts in more than two countries. A brilliant DJ from Tokyo or Togo would have been a way better experience this morning than hearing St. Vincent for the second time in less than 12 hours.