Trent Reznor Explains Beats 1 and Music Curation in Interview


Today is a big day for Apple and all those who worked hard on creating Apple Music, and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails is one of those, especially since Beats 1, the global radio station that aims to reform the radio as we know it, is Reznor’s brainchild. Rolling Stone sat down with him to talk about Beats 1 and more.

So the first call was to Zane to see if we could get him involved in this. And that call was really saying, “Hey Zane, would you be interested in not only broadcasting to the world but really providing the DNA and creative direction behind all the programming and making something that you would want to listen to at any waking moment?”

And that’s what he did. He assembled a team and we thought about the many details and complications of broadcasting worldwide and the clock issues and what time of day around the world, and what kind of content seemed to be interesting.

He ended up working on a streaming service as Apple acquired Beats – he was the Chief Creative Officer of Beats Music – because his experience with “existing services left [him] feeling a little lacking.”

“I tried a bunch of different things that had varying degrees of success and failure, but all of them, in the end, felt like stunts to me,” he tells Rolling Stone. “So my own travels led me to think that subscription [streaming], if it was done right, really would be the best experience for music fans. But my experience with existing services left me feeling a little lacking.”

beats 1

One of the keywords often used by the journalists who published their first impressions of Apple Music, was “curation”. Trent Reznor explains what this means in Apple terms: treating music like art. This is valid for every song you come across in Apple Music, he says, and even radio stations.

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 and it raises it up a notch into something what it deserves, rather than a big-box-retailer feel, like, “Here’s the stuff, pick what you want.” And some people will say that none of that matters, but it does to us and we are proud of the love and care that we are treating music with.

Following Dr. Dre and others, Reznor said his fans will get exclusive content, such as the entire album The Fragile as an instrumental-outtakes compilation, that plays like a regular album.

The lengthy interview is a must read for everyone who loves music.

Image credit: Rolling Stone

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  • Joe Peplowski

    I think you want to write
    because his experience with “existing services left [him] feeling a little lacking.”

  • IstvanFekete

    Thanks, fixed!