Apple’s new Apple Music subscription service is strictly an iOS and iTunes affair for now — the Android app isn’t due out until later this year. However, if you’re absolutely dying to get in on the ground floor, a crafty Android user figured out a way to break out one element of the experience, the global Internet radio station Beats 1, out of the company’s walled garden. It’s since been taken down, though.
Updated on 07-01-15 by Kyle Wiggers: Apple giveth, and Apple taketh away — Mr. Rumble’s website was overwhelmed with traffic and then shut down. If you’re desperate to get your Beats on, we suggest heading over to this handy Reddit thread for the newest URLs.
You’ll need an iOS device running iOS 6 or later or an Android device running at least 4.1 Jelly Bean. You’ll also need to reside in (or use a VPN based in) one of the Beats 1 launch countries. Once you’ve met those requirements, though, hanging with with Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden, Julie Adenuga, and the rest of the Beats 1 crew is as simple as playing the stream from this website, which has since been taken down. It worked, creator Benjamin Rumble explained on Twitter, by tapping into an “unencrypted HLS [HTTP Live Streaming] URL” of Beats 1, or basically exploiting an as-yet unpatched hole in Apple Music’s security.
The URL seemed to work on pretty much any app with built-in support for HLS before it was taken down. Chrome on Android and iOS and Safari on OS X handled the stream just fine, as did XiiaLive, TuneIn Radio, Media Player Home Classic, iTunes 11, and Quicktime X.
It was only a matter of time before Apple deprecated the URL. It had good reason to: Rumble and the others who’ve posted links are likely subverting whatever content protections Apple’s implemented within iTunes and the Apple Music app. But don’t expect that to deter developers from replenishing the supply of streams — already, a thread on Reddit is constantly being updated with links to unofficial Beats 1 URLs. Short of encrypting all of its radio station’s transmissions, Apple has its work cut out for it.