Beats 1 Rebranded as Apple Music Updates Radio Offerings, Adds A-List Hosts

Carrie Underwood
Randee St. Nicholas

Carrie Underwood

Apple has announced a rebranded and expanded radio offering within its music division today (Aug. 18), as Beats 1 radio becomes Apple Music 1 and two new channels join the lineup: Apple Music Hits and Apple Music Country.

Beats 1 was launched five years ago alongside the Apple Music on-demand streaming service, and has since expanded with new shows, additional hosts and a slew of artist-centric radio shows by artists like Elton John, Lil Wayne, Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga and more. Over the past five years, Beats 1 has produced more than 25,000 radio episodes, both live and on-demand, and expanded to each of the 165 countries where Apple Music is available.

With the new rebrand, Apple Music 1 will follow essentially the same format as Beats 1, with the shows and hosts rolling over in the new title. As for the two new channels, Apple Music Hits will focus on hit songs from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, with different shows focusing on different genres and eras; and Apple Music Country will be based out of Nashville and focus on country music in different ways, with its own hosts and shows and new episodes with the likes of Carrie Underwood, Luke Combs, Florida Georgia Line and Kelsea Ballerini, among others. The company has no immediate plans to add new stations.

"For the past five years, if ever there was a meaningful moment in music culture, Beats 1 was there bringing human curation to the forefront and drawing in listeners with exclusive shows from some of the most innovative, respected and beloved people in music," Apple Music, Beats and international content vp Oliver Schusser said in a statement. "Now, Apple Music radio provides an unparalleled global platform for artists across all genres to talk about, create and share music with their fans, and this is just the beginning. We will continue to invest in live radio and create opportunities for listeners around the world to connect with the music they love."

The expansion and rebranding of Apple Music 1 comes on the heels of Apple Music’s massive territorial expansion in April, when the service was rolled out to 52 additional countries in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and more. That rollout included expanding radio into seven Middle Eastern countries that already had Apple Music: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Bahrain. While Apple’s radio offerings will remain predominately in English, there are also several Spanish-language shows focused on Latin music and the service has started to produce local-language shows for local markets, including in Paris, France and Berlin, Germany.

"Apple Music is home -- it’s home to artists, it’s home to fans and it’s home to incredible music," Apple Music global creative director and host Zane Lowe said in a statement. "I’m an obsessive music nerd. I love searching for the most exciting new artists and playing them right alongside the most essential, established artists of our time, because great music does not know the difference and Apple Music fans just want to hear great music. That’s what Apple Music radio is all about."