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Spotify’s ‘audio first’ strategy involves an aggressive move into spoken-word content with podcasts (and soon audiobooks?) to compete with live radio. Apple Music has followed a different path, with the Beats 1 live radio station part of its service since launch. Yesterday it got a rebrand – to Apple Music 1 – and two new sister stations: Apple Music Hits and Apple Music Country.

Both will have a mixture of regular presenters and guest artist hosts: the 80s, 90s and 2000s focused Apple Music Hits has shows in the works from Backstreet Boys, Ciara, Alanis Morissette, Snoop Dogg and Shania Twain among others, while Apple Music Country has artists including Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Luke Combs, Florida Georgia Line, Midland and Carrie Underwood.

Apple has never published listening figures for Beats 1 – “one of the most-listened-to radio stations in the world” is as far as its latest announcement goes – it’s a significant expansion of Apple Music’s radio strategy. “We will continue to invest in live radio and create opportunities for listeners around the world to connect with the music they love,” promised Apple Music boss Oliver Schusser.

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