12
Jan
2014-01-12_12h49_32

If Pandora, Spotify, Google Play Music All Access, Rdio, Rhapsody, or any of the other streaming music services just haven't been able to deliver the experience you're looking for, make way for the newcomer to the scene: Beats Music. It's launching January 21st with support for Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile (aside from the desktop, of course), and actually brings a couple of features that the other guys should pay attention to.

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For starters, Beats will offer a family plan (!) for just $14.99 a month; the downside, however, is that it will only be available for AT&T subscribers with multi-line accounts. Hopefully that will go well and the option will eventually extend to users not tied to AT&T (or other services will take note that this is something users actually want). The family option will allow five members to stream Beats Music to up to ten devices (assume that's two per person), which includes streaming to multiple devices at the same time. That's pretty huge. To make it even better, AT&T customers will be offered an unprecedented 90 day free trial for their family to ensure the service is right for them. This option will be available beginning on January 24th and will be billed directly to the users' AT&T account.

For single subscribers, however, Beats is pretty much par for the course. Ten bucks a month will allow unlimited streaming of the 20 million song catalog, but it's only good for three devices. If you happen to have more than that, you'll have to pick and choose which ones you'll end up streaming from. Hopefully there will be a quick and painless way to de-authorize devices, much like with Play Music. Single subscribers will get a 30 day free trial of the service, which should be enough to discover if it's better than the other options.

SANTA MONICA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Beats Music announced the new music streaming subscription service officially launches in the US on January 21, 2014. Developed and led by a team of executives that have spent their entire careers in service of music, fans, and artists– Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre, Luke Wood, Trent Reznor, and Ian Rogers- Beats Music brings fans and music lovers an unparalleled personalized and curated listening experience that answers two important questions: “What should I listen to?” and “what song comes next?”

"Popular music is created in bite size pieces, one song at a time – but most people need more than four minutes to be truly satisfied," said Jimmy Iovine. "It takes a highly curated, uninterrupted sequence of songs to achieve a fulfilling music experience, where the only song as important as the song you are listening to is the song that comes next.”

At launch, all music fans are invited to a free trial of Beats Music, after which a $9.99/month subscription fee will apply. The service will be available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone as well as via the web beginning January 21st. Fans can stream their music or download to listen offline.

"Beats was created so people could hear the music the way the artists intended, but speakers were just the first step," said Luke Wood, President of Beats Electronics. "Beats Music is the final piece in making that vision a reality."

Music Curated Just for You

Beats Music features a vast catalog of more than 20 million fully licensed songs from all the major labels, including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group, as well as all independent labels– managed and maintained by a team of music experts with hundreds of years of curatorial expertise. Led by radio programming vet Julie Pilat, the Beats Music genre lead curation team includes:

• 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

• Country music writer Ken Tucker

• Former Programmer of L.A.’s hugely successful Latino 96.3, Jerry Pullés

Beats Music also features a comprehensive collection of editorialized playlists from some of the most well-respected music brands in the world, including Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, DJ Mag, Country Weekly, Hot97/Power 106, among many others.

“Beats Music combines the emotion only a human created playlist can give you with the best personalization technology can deliver, ” said Ian Rogers, Beats Music CEO. “With this you get not just the music experience only a talented DJ or music expert can deliver, but also the right one for you right now."

Additionally, Beats Music will provide users with multiple ways to find the right song at the right time by taking advantage of key features including:

  • Just For You: A personalized selection of albums and playlists delivered at least 4 times a day to each user. Selections are delivered based on users’ 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 compiled based on time of year, news, cultural milestones, and new releases worth noting.
  • Find It: An enhanced browsing function that lets users seek out playlists [and individual songs] by genre, activity or curator.

Artist-Friendly

Beats Music is committed to the principle that music has real value and will be acting accordingly by paying the same royalty rate to all content owners major and indie alike, while simultaneously providing a platform for fan interaction.

"Beats Music is based on the belief that all music has value and this concept was instilled in every step of its development. We want it to be just as meaningful for artists as it is for fans,” said Trent Reznor, who serves as Beats Music Chief Creative Officer. “We’re committed to providing revenue to artists, while helping to strengthen the connection with their fans.”

AT&T Collaboration

Through an exclusive deal with AT&T, Beats Music will be available to AT&T wireless customers on a multiline account for $14.99 a month. AT&T and Beats Music make it easy for families to enjoy the music they love all under one plan. Up to five family members across 10 devices can access the Beats Music service and get their own personal music on their own personal devices.

For a limited time, only AT&T wireless customers who subscribe to the family offer of Beats Music get the first 90 days free. AT&T customers who don’t qualify for the family offer can subscribe to Beats Music Individual for $9.99/month and will receive the first 30 days free. Beats Music will also be available in AT&T stores and online at www.att.com/beatsmusic on January 24, 2014.

“We’ve had a great relationship with Beats for years, and our expanded collaboration on this break-through service addresses the challenges that exist with current music subscription services today – lack of unique personalization and high costs to enjoy premium music for the family,” said David Christopher, AT&T Mobility Chief Marketing Officer. “Once again, we’re delivering the most innovative services to mirror the way our customers live. AT&T developed an innovative plan that lets each member of the family enjoy the music they love, as well as access to all that is unique about Beats Music – all at breakthrough value on a premium wireless network.”

Target Retail Partnership

Beats Music has selected Target, one of the largest music retailers in the country, as the exclusive retail partner to curate playlists for the streaming service, and the only place to purchase prepaid Beats Music gift cards. Target will curate a varied mix of music inspired by the retailer’s rich heritage of music and entertainment offerings, as well as its spirited brand essence. Beats Music prepaid gift cards will be available only at Target in denominations of $10, $25 or $50, for guests who want to give subscriptions to friends and family. As part of the partnership, Target will offer guests a free one-month trial of Beats Music with any purchase made at the Electronics & Entertainment counter the week of Jan. 26.

“At Target, music is an important part of our DNA, and we fuel our guests’ passion for it by collaborating with top names in the industry to deliver exclusive music experiences,” said Anne Stanchfield, divisional merchandise manager, Entertainment. “With this partnership, Target joins an exciting list of expert curators to offer Beats Music listeners varied playlists that reflect the significance of music to Target and to our guests.”

For more about Beats Music please visit the company site: www.beatsmusic.com.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, and musician. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6- or 7-string, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Wazzifer

    Normally, if Trent Reznor is involved into something, I jump on it like a fat kid in a candy store. BM is the only thing he was ever involved in that didn't excite me. Google Music have me spoiled big time.

  • Merri Mogridge

    I really can't see anyone choosing this over Play Music.

    • Wazzifer

      Problem is, GM is not and won't ever be as advertised and promoted as Beats Music. That's a huge bummer.

      • Merri Mogridge

        That's true! Country availability could also be a big factor.

    • Brendan Dillon

      The family sharing is actually pretty tempting.

  • rfslocutus

    But will it be available in Canada? My money is on not. Canada is an open market at the moment. The first streaming business to come here will get all the money.

    • http://www.techthirst.com/ Anuj Ahooja

      Rdio?

    • Jeremy Janzen

      Rdio is really good... But I feel like competition is coming in 2014 from Apple, Google and Spotify perhaps. Hopefully that drives prices down a bit. $4.99 for a single user is really where I think pricing should be at. Certainly pricing for music streaming should not be more than Netflix ($7.99/month).

      • Guy

        Rdio's sound quality is poor, and they won't even disclose their bitrate. MOG, upon which Beats technology is based, is SERIOUSLY good compared to other streaming services. Deezer (which IS available in Canada, BTW) is as close as I've found to it do far.

  • Daryn Sturridge

    When Trent Reznor first talked about this music service (back when it was called Daisy), I was really interested. Now I'm really not.

    • Rob Byrnes

      Before Daisy there was MOG. Which was OK, except their Android app is quite possibly the most crappy piece of software clapped together.

      The only redeeming feature of MOG over other services is that on Telstra (Australia) data is not counted towards your monthly limit

  • EH101

    That family plan sounds nice, but I don't think it'll be such a big hit that other services will adopt it. The 14.99 price for the family plan is incredibly cheap, surprisingly so.

    • Wazzifer

      It will get the word out about the new service, that's the whole point of it.

      • EH101

        Maybe so, but that word will be useless and maybe even negatively associated for those not on AT&T, once they read that is a requirement. It's far too easy these days to make people feel cheated, even when they're no worse off than they were before.

  • Bruno

    Beats is a shitty brand, you pay over 200$ for headphones that has shitty speakers, shitty components. Beats audio on my HTC One is always off because it's useles... That's what beats is all about, making useless shit and sell them for 200$ for easthetic purposes.... Reminds me of a certain company... Apple.

    You want good headphones... that sounds awesome?
    Want good headphone that looks epic?
    Ready to pay 200$ ?

    http://www.shure.com/americas/products/earphones-headphones/headphones
    http://www.sennheiser.ca/live/senn/type/en/1

    Both of Shure and Sennheiser are making headphones for professional (Studio Engineers, Soundmans, Audio Technicians, In-Ears for musicians).
    Do not buy brands like Beats, Skullcandy, Apple, JVC, Soul
    Buy those brands: Shure, Sennheiser, Audio Technica, Bose

    It's not because you read ''Beats studio headphones'' that studio professional really use them, Actually, in 100% of the biggest studio you will find Sennheiser or Shure. Sometimes AT but rarely.
    Do not buy a brand that as been founded by a rappers... Those guy knows ABSOLUTELY nothing about music, why would you buy their shit?

    • EH101

      Those guys know absolutely nothing about music but have made a living in music... I will agree that beats are terribly overrated and I'd argue the aesthetics aren't appealing either, but your bias is showing and undermines your standpoint.

    • dude

      I agree with everything you said up to the part where you mentioned Bose.

      • dude

        And that "rapper knows nothing about music", I would say that's an ignorant assumption.

        • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

          But it's the truth

          • Anthony Wingfield

            Wanna know how I know you've never listened to anything other than the radio

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            Because your mind reading powers are broken, try again

          • ILLAmusic

            Saying a rapper knows nothing about music is ignorant. Look at RZA for example (if you don't know why look it up). I agree that there are many professional headphone brands that many people prefer. But at the same time i regularly see beats in studios, and have a pair in mine.

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            Modern rappers don't. I respect the old-school though like in GTA San Andreas' Radio Los Santos

          • ILLAmusic

            My bad bro.. I wouldn't have bothered if I knew your thoughts were based off artists played in a video game. I do this, hip hop, music in general is my life. If you only listen to radio or video game soundtracks then I see exactly where your point of view comes from. Peace

          • ILLAmusic

            Besides that...dre isn't a rapper, he's a producer. His raps are written by someone else.

    • Wazzifer

      No offence, but you're ignorant.

    • HotInEER

      Sound is subjective and depends on the types of music you listen to, as well as your age. I happen to like my beats and owns numerous pairs of cans from different brands.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/77537273@N03/ Herman

      "Want good headphones"?
      Shure :3

    • Himmat Singh

      I have a Beats headphone, and it's pretty great really!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

    Hey let's ruin our whole launch with exclusivity for AT&T!

    • Gandalf_Teh_Gray

      As much as I hate to mention them both Apple and Motorola recently have screwed this up. It makes very little sense to do this unless the exclusive party has around 75% share of whatever market you are trying to enter.

    • blumpkinator

      exactly. I see no reason there needed to be any kind of carrier partnership. They just need to get users to install an app and sign up to pay. That has NOTHING at all to do with a wireless carrier. Sure you as a user need the carrier to haul bits over the mobile network but that's of no concern to the company selling a music streaming service.

      Things like this just sicken me. Mobile carriers need to do nothing more than act as a conduit for data/sms/voice traffic and NOTHING more. Ideally they should be barred from even selling handsets/modems/tablets etc.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

        We're getting closer to that at least. You can buy unlocked devices for ATT, T-Mobile and Sprint now, so slowly but surely.

  • remister

    I'm interested to see if they have any Asian music licenses.

  • Himmat Singh

    Correct me on this. Music streaming requires data. Assuming you listen to music on the go, and that each track is 3MB, if you listen to 30 tracks a day that is 90MB. A month, that is close to 3GB. Isn't that a lot just towards your music streaming for your data plan? Or are data plans much cheaper in the US than other parts of the world?

    • mccheeze

      not sure how pricing is in the rest of the world, but in the united states you can get unlimited talk/text plus ~ 2GB of data for ~$50-60 prepaid.
      Obviously there are some plans that are less, and some that are more. but that seems to be roughly the average for the GSM/LTE prepaid scene here.

  • Matthew Fry

    The problem with, 'Developed and led by a team of executives that have spent their entire careers in service of music, fans, and artists– Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre, Luke Wood, Trent Reznor, and Ian Rogers,' is that they are musicians and musical talent doesn't necessarily translate to streaming music service design. It's like saying that directors and actors should have input on how Netflix is designed. No, no they shouldn't.

  • http://www.getsnapcreative.com/ Snapper C.

    "This sucks and it's going to kill itself with exclusivity with AT&T"

    ...said Apple when they launched the iPhone and look how that turned out ;). AT&T was the only carrier to bite, the deal was offered to the other major carriers and they said no. And unlike the iPhone launch it's NOT exclusive to AT&T, only the specific plan mentioned.

    Once it takes off (and it most certainly will). The other carriers will want a piece of the pie. Then Google will say "oh shit, this is making money and ummm how can we steal more of folks' data through this service...there we go...no let's buy it for $10 billion.

    This service has some other perks that separate it from the competition. One big one, a continued improvement of digital files to get as close to lossless audio as technologically possible. NO OTHER SERVICE is even thinking along those lines. Audiophile's will love this service and I'll be one of them :)