A new report indicates that Apple is likely to add four more Beats stations to its Apple Music lineup in the near future. Trademarks for the stations have been applied for, paving the way for additions to the live Apple music repertoire that covers new regions and formats.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office received the application in November courtesy of Beats Electronics, LLC, categorized under broadcast and streaming, described as follows:
"Goods and Services: broadcasting and transmission of voice, data, images, music, audio, video, multimedia, television, and radio by means of telecommunications networks; broadcast and transmission of streamed music, audio, video, and multimedia content by means of telecommunications networks; matching users for the transfer of music, audio, video, and multimedia by means of telecommunications networks; providing access to websites, databases, electronic bulletin boards, on-line forums, directories, music, and video and audio programs."
The logos provided exactly match that of Apple's Beats 1 Radio station except that they replace the "1" with the numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5. It was already known that Apple has already negotiated with record labels for the rights to add up to five additional radio stations to its Beats lineup under the same terms as those agreed upon for Beats 1.
Speculation has already begun regarding what regions or formats the new stations will cover. Apple has reportedly registered domain names such as "beats2.com.cn," "beats2.hk" and "beats4.com.ru" in territories including China, Russia and Hong Kong that correspond with the potential lineup of new Beats offshoots, so speculation is that the new outlets may cater to specific foreign languages or territories.
Beats 1 currently broadcasts in English in over 100 countries and provides a mix of cutting edge pop music offerings curated by former BBC1 Radio DJ Zane Lowe and featuring various music stars as guest DJs. The station has been a critical success despite mixed reaction to the broader Apple Music service, which has been criticized by some as being glitchy, and sporting an overcomplicated user interface. The station currently operates live only 12 out of 24 hours each day, with repeats filling the remaining time. New stations could, therefore, provide the Beats lineup with 'round the clock live offerings.
The new channels could also be focused on specific genres. A talk-based format is certainly possible for at least one station, and rumors swirled for months in 2015 that radio's most successful and highly-paid talk DJ, Howard Stern, might jump ship from SiriusXM satellite radio to join the Apple radio family. The rumors were squashed when Stern recently announced his contract renewal with SiriusXM, but that doesn't mean Apple won't launch a talk format with other broadcasters.
An EDM-oriented format may also be in the works, as electronic music is one of the fastest growing genres, especially among the coveted youngsters that Apple would love to welcome to its fold. Lowe's former stomping ground, BBC 1, was and is highly active in the genre, along with its sister UK station, BBC1 Extra, which is exclusively dedicated to an electronic music format.
While it makes sense for Apple to apply for all four trademarks at once, the company may choose to roll out the stations one at a time in order to carefully control and monitor the quality of output. With the world constantly watching and analyzing the company's every move, Apple surely wants to put its best foot forward rather than simultaneously launching several works in progress.