by Jim Lynch

Will DJs ruin Apple’s streaming music service?

Jun 04, 2015
iOSMusicOperating Systems

Apple is on a DJ hiring spree, but who wants to listen to them?

DJs on Apple’s streaming music service? Who needs them?

The rumor mill is moving into overdrive about Apple launching a new music streaming service that will be announced next week at WWDC. The company has been working on the service for a while and some rumors have indicated that it may cost as little as $10 per month.

But one thing that baffles me is the mention of human DJs in a recent Wall Street Journal story about Apple’s music streaming service. Here’s the relevant portion of the article (note that the WSJ requires a subscription to read the full article, but you can access it free via a search on Google News):

It is expected to offer a battery of “channels” programmed much like traditional broadcast stations, featuring some high-profile personalities, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple has hired a number of well-known DJs and producers from BBC Radio 1 to help create the service.

It is in talks with rap stars Q-Tip, Drake and Dr. Dre—Beats’ other co-founder, also now working for Apple—to host shows, according to people familiar with the plans. Pandora-style “custom” stations are expected to be available alongside the new programmed channels.

More at The Wall Street Journal

Ugh! DJs? Really? One of the reasons I’ve taken to listening to downloaded music from iTunes while driving in my car is that I detest the small talk and other inane babble spewed by DJs on terrestrial radio. Most of them have little or nothing that is interesting or informative to hear. But they chatter on endlessly, thinking themselves witty while they bore their listeners to death.

Frankly, it’s hard for me to understand why Apple would put time and resources into hiring DJs in the first place. It’s such an outmoded way of presenting music to people. Then again maybe it’s just me who can’t stand listening to their blather while waiting for them to play the music that I tuned in to hear on the radio.

Are DJs really necessary on a streaming music service?

I can understand having human curated music content channels on a streaming music service. That makes sense and it can add real value to such an offering. I’m assuming though that the human curators would be silent and would work behind the scenes. But that doesn’t seem to be the direction that Apple is heading in by hiring high profile DJs for some of its channels.

It seems like the company wants “personalities” in order to promote the service to potential listeners. But is it really necessary to have such people included? What real value do they offer to listeners? As I noted above, Apple can have human curated content with people working in the background like they do for curated app lists on the App Store.

I can’t imagine tuning into a channel on Apple’s streaming music service and then having to listen to some idiot DJ babble on about what he or she had for breakfast that day, or spew some useless gossip about a celebrity or musician. Talk about a waste of my time!

Is there anybody out there who wants to pay for a music streaming service cluttered with DJs? Think about it, you are paying money to listen to music and instead you get some DJ sharing their very uninteresting thoughts about this, that and the other thing when all you wanted was to hear some music.

Please contain the DJ infection, Apple

Of course, I could just be suffering from a bad case of “idiot DJ paranoia” or something like that. It’s entirely possible that Apple might not unleash a torrent of lame, irritating DJs on subscribers to its music streaming service. They may keep them more in the background rather than letting them ooze their way into the foreground to annoy and bore listeners.

And the WSJ article seemed to indicate that DJs will only infest certain channels on Apple’s new music streaming service, while other channels will function more like iTunes Radio stations where all the listener gets is a pleasant stream of songs, one after the other without interruption. If that really ends up being the case then I could live with the DJs since I’d be able to completely avoid the channels that contain them.

I’ll hold off making any kind of final judgement about the issue of DJs until Apple announces full details about its streaming music service. But if every channel has DJs then I’ll most likely pass on it. I’m only interested in the music, I don’t want to spend a second of my time listening to some dingbat DJ mouth off about whatever happens to be floating through his or her head at that moment.

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