Beats Music Debuts

beats musicAnother streaming service is vying for consumer dollars. Beats Music launched in the U.S. at midnight (Jan. 21) and hopes to differentiate itself by offering expertly curated playlists and features to help users find their perfect mix of songs. The subscription service, a spin off of headphone makers Beats Electronics, is developed and led by a team of executives including Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre, Luke Wood, Trent Reznor and Ian Rogers. The Santa Monica company is partially financed by billionaire Len Blavatnik. Country music writer Ken Tucker is part of the service’s curation team. The subscription fee is $9.99/month.

Lots of advertising and marketing is supporting the launch. A commercial will air during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2. There are exclusive agreements with Target and AT&T, as well as a free trial offer. Beats Music will be available to AT&T wireless customers on a multiline account for $14.99 a month. Up to five family members across 10 devices can access the service and get their own music on their own devices.

Beats Music offers a catalog of more than 20 million songs from Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and independent labels. The service is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone as well as via the web. Fans can stream their music or download to listen offline.

Led by radio programming vet Julie Pilat, the Beats Music curation team includes Tucker, former Pitchfork Media editor-in-chief Scott Plagenhoef, former digital content director at XXL Carl Chery, veteran Detroit radio music director Suzy Cole, Recording Academy music blogger Arjan Writes, former Rhino Records A&R Director Mason Williams, Los Angeles hip-hop radio personality Fuzzy Fantabulous, and former Programmer of L.A.’s hugely successful Latino 96.3, Jerry Pullés. The Academy of Country Music, Country Weekly and the Grand Ole Opry are country music curator partners.

Beats Music attempts to provide users with ways to find the right song at the right time with features including:
Just For You: A personalized selection of albums and playlists delivered at least 4 times a day based on musical preferences, time of day, activity, and additional cultural and contextual clues.
Right Now: A continuous playlist compiled from users’ answers to four specific questions about their location, their activity, their surroundings, and their musical preference at that moment.
Highlights: Beats Music editorial staff-recommend playlists or albums.
Find It: An enhanced browsing function that lets users seek out playlists and songs by genre, activity or curator.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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