Beats 1: Indies dominate first day’s playlist as Zane Lowe delivers

Apple launched its new Beats 1 radio station last night with Zane Lowe to much public acclaim.

“It’s not about fanfare or fireworks. It’s about quality and consistency,” said the clearly fired-up New Zealander.

“We’re Beats 1, we’re worldwide and from now on, we’re always on.”

From there, Lowe gave former employer BBC Radio 1 a big headache by doing what he’s always done – charming the pants off music fans everywhere.

Lowe kicked off Beats 1’s worldwide broadcast with unsigned Manchester act Spring King’s City – and it was a sign of the support for independent artists and and labels that was to come.

According to Radiomonitor data analysed by MBW, Beats 1 played 41 tracks from 5pm until midnight yesterday (UK/European time).

41.4% of them, or 17 tracks, were from independent artists.

That was one better than Universal, who claimed 16 (39%) tracks – although this discounts Glass Animals’ Black Mambo, released independently but distributed via UMG’s Caroline.

Sony was responsible for seven tracks (17%) but these included the most-spun: Pharrell’s comeback single Freedom.

Warner had just one entry (2%) in the opening 41 tracks: Royal Blood’s Little Monster, although it was played twice.


This is very early days, of course, so expect this independent love-in to calm slightly, but it’s still interesting – not least as BBC Radio 1’s Top 50 tracks last year contained just three independent releases.

Zane Lowe’s first ten tracks on Beats 1 included no less than six independent acts, with two from UMG, two from Sony and none from Warner.

  1. Spring King – City (unsigned)
  2. Beck – Dreams (Capitol/Virgin EMI/UMG)
  3. Jamie XX – Gosh (XL)
  4. Skepta – Shutdown (BBK Records)
  5. AC/DC – For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) (Sony)
  6. Hudson Mohawke – Warriors (Warp)
  7. Pharrell Williams – Freedom (Sony)
  8. Courtney Barnett – Dead Fox (Marathon Artists)
  9. The Chemical Brothers – Under Neon Lights (Virgin EMI/UMG)
  10. Shamir – On The Regular (XL)

Lowe, whose debut performance on the station has gone down well with reviewers, also introduced a section called ‘World Record’; a very similar idea to his industry-watched ‘World’s Hottest Record’ feature on his old BBC Radio 1 show.

He was followed on Beats 1 by Julie Adenuga in London and Ebro Darden in New York.

Lowe is expected to unveil a world exclusive interview with Eminem on Beats 1 later today (July 1).

As you can see below in the list of the 41 tracks from Beats 1’s first few hours on air, only four songs got repeated: Williams’ Freedom (Sony), Royal Blood’s Little Monster (WMG), The Weeknd’s Can’t Feel My Face (UMG) and A$AP Rocky’s L$D (Sony). [Plays displayed on right-hand side.]

1 Pharrell Williams Freedom RCA SME 3
2 Royal Blood Little Monster Warner Music WMG 2
2 Weeknd, The Can’t Feel My Face Island UMG 2
4 A$AP Rocky L$D RCA SME 2
4 AC/DC For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) Sony Music SME 1
4 Alabama Shakes Don’t Wanna Fight Rough Trade Ind. 1
4 Alessia Cara Here Def Jam UMG 1
4 AlunaGeorge You Know You Like It Island UMG 1
4 Beck Dreams Virgin EMI UMG 1
4 Bully Trying Columbia SME 1
4 Chemical Brothers, The feat. St Vincent Under Neon Lights Universal Music UMG 1
4 Chet Faker Bend Ind. 1
4 Courtney Barnett Dead Fox Marathon Artists Ind. 1
4 David Zowie House Every Weekend Virgin EMI UMG 1
4 Day Wave We Try But We Don’t Fit In Ind. 1
4 Denney Low Frequency Ministry Of Sound Ind. 1
4 Disclosure feat. Gregory Porter Holding On PMR UMG 1
4 Dr. Dre Let Me Ride  Death Row / Interscope UMG 1
4 Elliot Moss Slip Pias Ind. 1
4 Eminem Phenomenal Shady Records UMG 1
4 Florence + The Machine Ship To Wreck Island UMG 1
4 Gallant Weight In Gold Ind. 1
4 Glass Animals Black Mambo Caroline Ind. 1
4 Grace feat. G-Eazy You Don’t Own Me Sony Music SME 1
4 Hudson Mohawke feat. Rckazoid, Devaeuux Warriors Warp Records Ind. 1
4 Jack Garratt Weathered Island UMG 1
4 Jamie xx Gosh Young Turks Ind. 1
4 Jamie XX feat. Young Thug & Popcaan I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) Young Turks Ind. 1
4 Jme Man Don’t Care Ind. 1
4 Justin Timberlake Senorita Jive SME 1
4 Lapsley Falling Short Her Own Recordings / Annie Mac Presents Ind. 1
4 MS MR Painted RCA SME 1
4 Seinabo Sey Hard Time Virgin EMI UMG 1
4 Shamir On The Regular XL Recordings Ind. 1
4 Skepta Shutdown BBK Records Ind. 1
4 Slaves Cheer Up London Virgin EMI UMG 1
4 Spring King City Handsome Dad Ind. 1
4 Stromae Tous Les Mêmes Virgin EMI UMG 1
4 Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar Bad Blood Virgin EMI UMG 1
4 Vic Mensa feat. Kanye West U Mad Virgin EMI UMG 1
4 Wolf Alice You’re A Germ Dirty Hit Ind. 1

In the first few hours since midnight (UK time / CET), Beats played the following tracks, according to RadioMonitor, in a more major-dominated segment.

1 A$AP Rocky L$D RCA SME 1
1 Blink 182 What’s My Age Again Mca UMG 1
1 Elliot Moss Slip Pias Ind. 1
1 Eminem Phenomenal Shady Records UMG 1
1 Kendrick Lamar Alright Polydor UMG 1
1 Lapsley Falling Short Her Own Recordings / Annie Mac Presents Ind. 1
1 Major Lazer feat. Ellie Goulding & Tarrus Riley Powerful Mad Decent WMG 1
1 Meek Mill Dreams And Nightmares Warner Music WMG 1
1 Miguel feat. Lenny Kravitz Face The Sun RCA SME 1
1 Rick Ross feat. Jay Z The Devil Is A Lie Virgin EMI UMG 1
1 Stromae Tous Les Mêmes Virgin EMI UMG 1
1 Weeknd, The Can’t Feel My Face Island UMG 1
1 Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth See You Again Warner Music WMG 1

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