In a lengthy interview with Rolling Stone, the Nine Inch Nails frontman detailed his favorite aspects of Apple Music and explained the inspiration behind his passion project, the global online radio station Beats 1.
“I think it’s going to be an interesting experiment,” Reznor said. “But it’s one that we’re going into uncompromised, and that’s what I’m really proud of … It’s certainly been worth my time taking time off from Nine Inch Nails to focus on trying to make this experience great.”
Reznor said hearing Zane Lowe — the radio DJ who will anchor Beats 1 — on his BBC1 show motivated him to conceptualize a global radio station. “The passion of Zane was infectious and I thought, ‘Man, I wonder if that would work on a global level,'” he said. “I wonder if it’s possible if we pumped out the same music around the world, taking this through the lens of Apple. What would that be like? Could we do that in an interesting fashion and could the whole world tune into something?'”
Lowe’s show isn’t the only one Reznor is excited about. “I was just listening to samples of Dre’s show, which is really cool,” Reznor said of Dr. Dre’s Beats 1 show. Elton John, Drake and other notable musicians will also host shows on the station.
Reznor likened the carefully curated music recommendations and playlists available on Apple Music to the experience of talking to a trusted record store employee. “That aspect of treating music like art is important,” he said. “And we’ve tried to do that everywhere that you come across music in Apple Music. When you listen to a radio station here, every song has been chosen by somebody.”
Regarding the much-debated issue of how streaming services pay artists, Reznor leans more toward Taylor Swift than Sean Parker. “As a fan, I do believe that, ‘What could beat having access to all the music in the world delivered easily to you and elegantly in a way that inspires discovery?'” Reznor said. “That sounds like the right thing to me, and I think there should be a fee to that and I don’t think music should be free.”