Speaking to Rolling Stone about creating Beats 1 radio, Trent Reznor said he wanted to recreate the feeling you got when walking into a really good independent record store.

I want that feeling of walking into an independent record shop, if there are still any that exist, like Amoeba [Records], and being delighted by the choices and the way music is presented to you with love and care. It’s exciting. And you leave with stuff you wouldn’t have dreamed you wanted and you’re excited to listen and share it and experience it.

Reznor, who was previously Chief Creative Officer at Beats Music, said that listening to Zane Lowe’s BBC radio show totally inspired him … 

Reznor said that Lowe would not only play something really niche and edgey alongside a completely mainstream track, but that the DJ’s obvious enthusiasm made it a very powerful experience.

It kept my attention because Zane’s personality and excitement jelled it into something that felt powerful and I realized I was listening to things that I wouldn’t if I could just skip through it, or stuff I wouldn’t listen to in the first place. The passion of Zane was infectious.

He found himself wondering whether that could work on a global level, and have the whole world tune into something.

Reznor said Beats 1 is unique because it isn’t led by audience research and it isn’t trying to be “niche-y and elitist cool [but] actually cool.” Surprisingly, he added that he hasn’t yet listened to the entire line-up.

I’ve been talking with my friend Josh Homme and I know he’s excited about his show. And I was just listening to samples of Dre’s show, which is really cool. And I educated myself on Julie Adenuga, who I wasn’t familiar with and I’m looking forward to see what she’s up to.

Echoing comments made by Cue and Iovine, he said that human curation is key, and the Apple Music team has done that with great care.

When your recommendations pop up “For You,” that wasn’t based on some tag that came into the system; it was based on editors sitting and saying, “We like this subgenre of hip-hop which branches off into these artists which branch off into these artists,” and paying attention to the actual behavior in the app. And we believe that the result ends up being something that feels better. It makes music feel more personal.

Reznor revealed that he would be adding to the exclusive content on Apple Music.

When the service goes live, the first thing I’ve put up is something I couldn’t have done or wouldn’t have done anywhere else, which is the entire album The Fragile as an instrumental-outtakes compilation that plays like a regular album but sounds very different without my voice in the way. […] That’ll be there as soon as you download the app, you’ll see that in, on my Connect page.

The whole interview is worth a read. If you want some independent opinions of Apple Music, check out our early review roundup.

Photo: Monica Almeida/NYTimes/Redux

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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