The station airs a mix of pop, rap and indie music. Its DJs include Zane Lowe, who left BBC Radio 1 to join Beats 1, Ebro Darden, who hosts a hip hop music based radio show, and Julie Adenuga, whose show focuses on music from the United Kingdom.<ref>Sisario, Ben (2015-06-25). "Zane Lowe, the D.J. Scratching Out Beats 1 for Apple". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-09-16.</ref>
Apple bought audio equipment maker Beats Electronics in 2014, which included the ownership of Beats' former music service Beats Music,<ref>Karp, Hannah; Dezember, Ryan; Barr, Alistair (2014-05-30). "Apple Paying Less Than $500 Million for Beats Music Streaming Service". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2016-09-30.</ref> and made Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers responsible for the iTunes Radio service.<ref>Wakabayashi, Hannah Karp and Daisuke. "With Apple-Beats Deal Complete, Ian Rogers To Run iTunes Radio". Retrieved 2016-09-30.</ref> Business Insider later reported that Apple was planning to merge the two services together. Apple also hired Zane Lowe as a music curator.<ref>"What we're hearing about the new music-streaming service Apple is developing in secret". Retrieved 2016-09-30.</ref>
The day of Beats 1's launch, The Guardian revealed that they had been given pre-recorded examples of Beats 1 programming, and said it "suggests an eclectic mix of programming to fill the 24-hours-a-day of broadcasting."
On September 29 of 2015, Zane Lowe said he wasn't sure that Apple Music needed Beats 1, but said "I hope that there’s a place for it."<ref>"Zane Lowe: 'I'm not sure that Apple Music needs Beats 1'". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-14.</ref>
In December 2015, rumours spread that Apple would expand on the Beats 1 brand and give it sister stations, after Apple registered trademarks for 4 additional Beat stations.<ref>"Beats 1 to Get Sister Stations, If Trademark Filings Are Any Indication". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-10-14.</ref><ref>Rogelet, Sylvain. "Quatre nouvelles radios pour Apple ?". Consomac. Retrieved 2016-10-14.</ref><ref>Times, Tech (2015-12-31). "Apple Music To Add 4 New Beats Radio Stations, What Genres And Regions Could Their Formats Cover?". Tech Times. Retrieved 2016-10-14.</ref><ref>Rossignol, Joe. "Apple Files Trademarks for Beats 2, 3, 4, and 5 Radio Stations". Retrieved 2016-10-14.</ref>
In September 2016, Apple refreshed the Apple Music interface with the release of iTunes 12.5 and iOS 10. Beats 1 reportedly became harder to get to, due to the clunky interface of iOS 10's Music app.<ref>Miller, Chance (2016-10-13). "Comment: Beats 1 station deserves an Apple Music-like revamp in year 2". 9to5Mac. Retrieved 2016-10-14.</ref>
In March 2017, Apple claimed that Beats1 is "the biggest radio station in the world" and beat all other music stations in concurrent listeners.<ref>"Beats 1 is 'the Biggest Radio Station in the World', Says Apple Music". Retrieved 2017-11-29.</ref>
Reception for the Apple-run station has been mixed. Quartz analyzed the track list of songs that were aired on Beats 1 in its second week. "Though Beats 1 is an eclectic mix of genres, some listeners have complained that it plays too much hip-hop." However, they did note that "there is a reasonable amount of diversity..."<ref>Sonnad, Nikhil. "We analyzed a month of Beats 1 tracks to figure out Apple’s taste in music". Retrieved 2016-09-30.</ref>
Mashable complained of "dynamic-range compression, which squashes the volume range of audio" and also said "The variety can be a blessing and a curse...it jumps all over the musical spectrum...If I wasn't committed to listening to nothing but Beats 1 for this review, I would have turned it off."<ref>Perkins, Chris. "I listened to Beats 1 for a week and all I got was a headache [REVIEW]". Mashable. Retrieved 2016-09-30.</ref>
9to5Mac had a generally positive review of the station, saying "Although Beats 1 is advertised as a 24/7 station, it isn’t really true. The schedule is set up on a 12 hour basis, so for the other 12 hours it plays a recording of the last 12 hours...This is frustrating for me, being based in the UK. If I listen in the afternoon and in the following morning, I am likely to hear the same shows repeated...In summary, Beats 1 as a concept is great... It needs some work on the software side and the production side to make it really shine."<ref>Mayo, Benjamin (2016-01-19). "Do you listen to Beats 1? Here’s what Apple can do to improve its radio station & encourage more people to tune in". 9to5Mac. Retrieved 2016-09-30.</ref>
Fortune said "I haven’t liked every song played on Beats 1, but the personal bond I instantly felt with each DJ has been strong enough for me to resist the urge to go back to a lifeless algorithm."<ref>"Why Apple’s Beats 1 is music streaming done right". Fortune. 2015-07-02. Retrieved 2016-09-30.</ref>
Billboard writer said "the tech community has been heaping praise on Beats 1...Internet-savvy people have fallen head over heels for old-school monoculture."<ref>"Beats 1, Apple's Radio Station, Looks Like It's A Hit -- and Maybe a New Digital Direction". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-10-14.</ref>
Rob Price of Business Insider said "So far, I've loved it. I was never much of a radio listener before, and I've enjoyed the eclectic selection it has thrown up."<ref>"Here's what people are saying about Beats 1, Apple's new global radio station". Business Insider. Retrieved 2016-10-14.</ref>
Kirk McElhearn wrote "Beats 1 radio is clearly a loss-leader. Apple has designed it to draw people into Apple Music and get them interested. But the station is designed for just one demographic: the young, pop/rock/hip-hop listener. As such, it’s a non starter for a lot of Apple Music customers, and that’s a shame."<ref>McElhearn, Kirk (2015-07-27). "We’ve Got Beats 1 Radio, but What About Beats 2, Beats 3, Etc.?". Kirkville. Retrieved 2016-11-04.</ref>
The Guardian's review heavily criticized Jaden Smith's MSFTS Frequency program and A-Trak's show Day Off, but was generally positive of their other programming.<ref>Evans, Rhiannon (2015-09-02). "What happens when you listen to Beats 1 radio for 24 hours? Lots and lots of Drake". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-07-27.</ref>
After Larry Jackson, Apple Music's Head of Programming, claimed Beats1 is the number one music station worldwide, media.info warned readers of believing Apple's claims without viewership numbers.<ref>"Is Beats 1 really “the biggest radio station in the world”?". media.info. 2017-03-29. Retrieved 2017-11-29.</ref>
Beats 1 broadcast a mix of music focusing on new music and artists. Unlike the playlists for the "stations" on iTunes Radio. The Next Web claims that "The overarching aim of Beats 1 is to curate cool new music, whether it be new talent or fresh music from established artists."<ref>Swanner, Nate (2015-09-29). "Zane Lowe is crazy if he doesn't think Apple Music needs Beats 1". The Next Web. Retrieved 2016-11-04.</ref>
Beats 1 aired Apple's annual Apple Music Festival (which was formerly known as the iTunes Festival)<ref>"Apple's rebranded Music Festival was livestreamed on Beats 1". Engadget. Retrieved 2016-11-04.</ref> as well as interviews with popular American music artists such as <ref>"What Apple's Beats 1 Means for Your Radio Brand | Mark Ramsey Media LLC". www.markramseymedia.com. Retrieved 2016-11-04.</ref> Lady Gaga,<ref>"Don’t Compare Lady Gaga To Madonna (Or Anyone Else), Because She Says So". MTV News. Retrieved 2016-11-04.</ref> Bruno Mars<ref>Guide, Game & (2016-11-02). "Bruno Mars Failure Lead Him To His Success: Find Out How He Coped With Failure". Gamenguide. Retrieved 2016-11-04.</ref> and Chance the Rapper.<ref>"Watch Chance the Rapper's Full Interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1 - Noisey". Noisey. Retrieved 2016-11-04.</ref> Apple Music Festival was cancelled in 2017. Beats 1 and Apple Music as a whole wanted to focus more on introducing new artists and creating original content. <ref> https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/sep/05/apple-cancels-its-london-music-festival-itunes-festival. Missing or empty
Beats1 also occasionally lets musicians host their own shows on the station. In an interview with Digital Trends' Keith Nelson Jr., Zane Lowe praised the format, saying "We’ve been overwhelmed by...how great the artists are at doing it."<ref>"Beats 1 radio's Zane Lowe on superstar DJs, exclusive releases, and the age of curation". Digital Trends. 2017-06-11. Retrieved 2017-11-29.</ref>
In 2015 Apple secured trademarks allowing them to create up to four sister stations for Beats1<ref>"Beats 1 to Get Sister Stations, If Trademark Filings Are Any Indication". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-12-20.</ref><ref>"Apple Files Trademarks for Beats 2, 3, 4, and 5 Radio Stations". Retrieved 2017-12-20.</ref><ref>"Apple files trademark applications for Beats 2, 3, 4 and 5 radio stations". www.idownloadblog.com. Retrieved 2017-12-20.</ref>; however, Apple has not launched these stations and has not announced plans to launch more Beats-branded stations.
- An unfixed bug with Android's HLS library is known to cause the same media chunk to replay a few times, resulting in a choppy streaming experience.