Beats Music, the new music streaming service backed by Dr Dre’s Beats Headphones, and boasting the involvement of Trent Reznor, has announced it will launch in the US on 21 January.
There’s been no mention yet of a UK launch for the service, so I’d guess we will have to wait a little bit longer to see the service in action.
Until then though, there has been a few more details revealed about the service – most importantly, how it plans to differ from Spotify in order to make a dent in the already crowded music streaming market.
First off, Beats Music promises to be better for artists by being subscription only. The plan is that this will provide more royalties for artists as there is no free streaming service, as there is with the under-fire Spotify. Spotify have used the free aspect of their service to good effect to attract new users though, so Beats Music could struggle without a free streaming option.
The plan is obviously to leverage the Beats brand as a whole to attract new customers, and they have also integrated a subscription package with AT&T mobile phone contracts in the US to help grow user numbers. The service will be available for a subscription of $9.99 a month, but with AT&T’s ‘family’ package up to 5 different users can get access to the service for $15 a month.
In terms of the actual service, Beats music promises to be a lot better than any other streaming service when it comes to its music algorithms – and this seems to be its big USP. Instead of relying solely on algorithms to pick recommendations, Beats will also use a huge pool of editors and specialist ‘curators’ to match music listening habits with new ideas and playlists.
This is where Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor comes in. After a couple of decades at the sharp end of the music industry, where he has played with a variety of different music release and distribution methods, he reckons he is uniquely placed to guide this side of the Beats Music platform. His big contribution is an automated listening game called ‘Right Now’, which allows users to build an ad hoc playlist based on different variables e.g. where they are, what they are doing, who they are with and what genre of music they want to base it on. It sounds like a kind of party game rolled into music discovery.
Here’s a still showing how the app will look:
With so much money and so many big names behind it, Beats Music is destined to make some kind of impact on the music streaming industry. Whether it can do enough to pull users away from the likes of Spotify and Pandora remains to be seen. For me, it all sounds too similar to Spotify, so I can’t see me deciding to pay another £10 a month for a very similar service. Although the one thing that bugs me about Spotify is the rubbish recommendations, so if Beats Music shows it can crack the murky and complicated world of music discovery with some clever innovation then I may take note. Until then, I’m sticking with Spotify.
What about you, will you be quick to dive in with Beats Music when it comes to the UK? Join the discussion in the comments below…