Under The Microscope

Rogue Amoeba and Apple’s New Beats 1 Station

On June 30th, Apple launched their new Apple Music streaming music service, to compete with streaming services like Spotify and Rdio. To promote this launch, Apple also introduced a brand-new, worldwide radio station known as Beats 1. Beats 1 is staffed by big-name DJs playing commercial-free music to listeners all around the globe, 24 hours a day, and it’s all available free of charge. In over 100 countries across the planet, people are enjoying the communal experience of listening to the same music, and that’s pretty cool.

Of course, this is hardly a new concept. There have long been both Internet streams of terrestrial radio stations and Internet-exclusive radio stations. Indeed, our own Internet radio station-in-a-box software Nicecast powers many of those very stations! What makes the new Beats 1 station different is that it’s being produced by Apple, with their rather massive resources behind it. The promotion they’ve given the station has already propelled it into popular culture.

That popularity has led users to ask us for help in enhancing their listening experience. Below are three ways our software can help you listen to Beats 1 (and anything in Apple Music, too).

Using Airfoil with Beats 1

Airfoil IconAirfoil makes it easy to transmit audio around your house, using the AirPlay protocol. With Airfoil, you can send audio from applications like Spotify or your web browser out to AirPort Expresses and Apple TVs, iOS devices, and even other Macs. AirPlay audio sending is incredibly popular, and Airfoil gives you more control and power over how it works. However, iTunes has AirPlay sending built right in, so why is Airfoil needed?

Unfortunately, when you tune in to Beats 1 in iTunes on your Mac, you’ll notice that iTunes’ built-in AirPlay sending is not offered. It’s also unavailable for other stations including NPR and ESPN radio. No explanation for this is given, though it’s likely due to licensing issues on Apple’s end. Whatever the cause, Airfoil is here to lend a hand! Just set iTunes as your source in Airfoil running on your Mac, and you’ll be able to send Beats 1 out to any and all of your devices which can receive AirPlay audio.

Airfoil and Beats 1Airfoil sending Beats 1 to AirPlay outputs

Using Nicecast with Beats 1

Nicecast IconBefore Airfoil and the AirPlay (née AirTunes) streaming protocols, the previously-mentioned Nicecast was the way to ship audio around both the Internet and your own house. Way back in 2004, before Airfoil had been created, we wrote about using Nicecast to get audio to an AirPort Express. A similar setup works for other hardware which can’t receive via AirPlay. As long as your device can tune in to an Internet radio stream, Nicecast can help you send audio over to it.

In this case, setting iTunes as the source in Nicecast is about all it takes. Nicecast will create a stream of the audio playing in iTunes, and you can then tune in to that stream with your audio playback hardware. If iTunes is playing Beats 1, Nicecast will pass it along for listening. Naturally, this also works for any and all Apple Music playing via iTunes.

Nicecast and Beats 1Nicecast creating a stream from Beats 1

Once you’ve set up Nicecast, just find the “Local” URL from the Share drawer. Tune in to that with any audio player on your network, and you’ll hear the audio from iTunes. We’ve already seen users making great use of Nicecast to get Apple Music out to their Sonos devices (they offer helpful instructions on tuning), and we’re pleased we can assist.

Using Audio Hijack with Beats 1

Audio Hijack IconFinally, we’ve had users ask us about timed recording of Beats 1. Of course, our audio recorder Audio Hijack can help you there. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t currently provide a tune-able link to the stream, which is what a timed recording requires. Thankfully, it appears that mirrors of the stream are popping up, and you can certainly tune in with those.

Audio Hijack and Beats 1Audio Hijack set to record Beats 1

With this simple setup, you can record shows which are on at inconvenient times, then listen to them at your convenience!

Of course, even if you just want to listen live, Audio Hijack can improve your experience. Improve audio quality with audio effects to the stream. Even better, if you stream iTunes through Audio Hijack with a Time Shift block in place, you can pause the music while you make a snack, rewind to catch the name of a song again, or just build up a buffer of content so you can skip past songs you don’t like. Neat!

Save!

We hope our software can enhance your listening experience with Beats 1 and Apple Music. If you’re a new user, you can save on the purchase of any of the apps mentioned above. Just purchase before the end of July, and use coupon code BEATS1 to save $3. Enjoy!

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