Apple claims Beats 1 is now the world's biggest radio station. The company won't tell us exactly how many people are enjoying the service, but it says there's "no way you're going to find another station that has as many concurrent listeners and audience-wise as Beats 1, period."
Larry Jackson, Apple Music's head of service, sat down with Jimmy Iovine, Zane Lowe, and Robert Kondrk for an interview with The Verge over the weekend. They talked about the success of Apple Music and Beats 1, and the staggering popularity of Drake, who has been pulling in millions of fans with the release of new albums and his own Beats 1 show.
Drake's OVO Sound Radio is the most popular show on the station to date, while his latest album, "More Life," has broken streaming records with over 600 million streams worldwide. It surpassed 300 million streams during its first week alone, breaking the record shortly held by Ed Sheeran's "Divide," which saw 375 million streams on Spotify.
The most recent episode of OVO Sound Radio, in which Drake debuted "More Life," set the record for the most popular Beats 1 episode. These album and single debuts, which started with the release of "Back to Back," "Hotline Bling," and "Charged Up," have helped make the show so big. "What we saw on Drake's radio show were TV numbers," said Iovine.
Before Beats 1, Drake debuted new content on SoundCloud, pulling in a ton of users. The switch to Apple's service is described as a big risk for the rap star. "We weren't a proven hit, we weren't a proven entity at all, whatsoever," said Jackson. Iovine says Beats 1 has been shaped by Drake. "We learned so much from just building what Drake needed."
"I mean what he's taught me just in terms of the parameters of broadcasting is remarkable," said Lowe. "I remember when we were first waiting for those shows to come in [OVO Sound Radio] and they'd come in 20 minutes late, and I'd be freaking out because we'd run over our start time. Now the show comes in an hour late and we're all just like cool."
"He knows what he's doing, and he knows his audience," Lowe added. "And he knows it's going to work when it's ready."
Beats 1 is now seen as a shop window for Apple Music. Users load the Music app to enjoy Beats 1, hear something they like, then use the streaming service to find more of it. It helps pull in new subscribers, and now additional Beats stations are in the works.
Check out the full interview on The Verge via the source link below to learn more about Apple's relationship with Drake, and how he has helped make Beats 1 and Apple Music what it is today.