But is it worth your time and cash?
Dr. Dre is arguably the greatest producer in the history of hip-hop. Trent Reznor is an alt-rock legend. And Jimmy Iovine is the legendary exec who’s worked with everyone from John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen to Eminem and Lady Gaga (and, not-so-incidentally, Dr. Dre and Nine Inch Nails.) Suffice it to say that between the three of them, these music icons have the scope of popular music over the last four decades pretty well covered.
And now, with today’s release of the Beats Music app, they’re aiming to change the way fans listen to music.
Why, you may be asking yourselves, do we really need another streaming music service? After all, aren’t listeners covered with Spotify, iTunes Radio, Pandora, Songza, Rdio, Rhapsody, and on and on? The Beats music team thinks not, and that’s why they’ve combined forces like Voltron to monopolize your ear-holes. So what makes Beats Music different from these other services?
1: It’s run by taste-makers.
Yes, you already know this. It’s in the headline. But it bears consideration: While the lead on some of these other applications were taken by engineers, coders, and other techno-geeks, the Beats Music team wants you to know that years of actual music expertise is behind the user experience. CEO Ian Rogers got his start working with the Beastie Boys, and Scott Plagenhoef, Global Head of Editorial and Programming, was one of the masterminds behind Pitchfork. What does this mean? Well, there are a ton of curated playlists covering genres (old-school hip-hop! Classic soul! Seminal Indie!), activities (driving! Studying! Gettin’ it on!), and playlists that have been put together by the likes of Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Mojo, and more. In essence, you have extremely knowledgeable DJs picking the songs you’ll most want to hear.
KINDA LIKE: Songza
2: It uses science to figure out what you want.
When signing up, users can pick what kind of music they like, and then what specific artists they want to hear. Using this information, Beats will spit out playlists tailored to the listener’s tastes. And as you use the service, it gets to know you, collecting your tastes to better give you what you want. Science!
KINDA LIKE: Pandora
3: Millions of tracks, just a click away.
If you’re craving a particular song - or album, or artist - Beats has you covered there, too. With a music library 20 million tracks strong, you won’t have to go to YouTube to cue up the perfect song for the perfect occasion.
KINDA LIKE: Spotify
4. You can create your own experience.
Discover a kickass deep-cut you never knew existed? You can drop it into a file with other similar finds, building your own library of playlists. It’s like the good-old days of making mixtapes without the hassle (for our younger reader, mixtapes were collections of songs dubbed onto cassette tapes that you might make for a girl you had a crush on, or for a road trip, or a party. Very popular in the eighties.)
KINDA LIKE: iTunes
5. It will design the perfect playlist for your specific circumstance.
One unique feature, dreamed up by Mr. Reznor, is called “The Sentence”. You choose where you are (at work, at the gym, at the beach), what you feel like doing (pre-partying, punching walls, waking up), who you’re with (friends, co-workers, significant others) and what you want to listen to (Americana, metal, classic country, hardcore hip-hop) and it finds you the perfect playlist. It’s fun!
KINDA LIKE: Mad Libs!
Is Beats Music worth the 10-per-month fee? Well, that’s the same as you’d pay for these other services, and if you’re only going to use one, it sure seems like a good choice. Sure, there are still a few glitches, but the app just launched today, and those wrinkles will no doubt be smoothed over. There are some other things worth considering - for one, the application was specifically designed for mobile use (i.e. your smartphone.) Yes, you can use it on your desktop computer, but the idea is to put this service in your pocket. Now, because this is a streaming service, that could be a problem if you’re on an airplane, or going through a tunnel, or on the subway, but luckily you can download all these playlists, so no web service, no problem.
On the other hand, there’s no ad-supported free version, which you get with Spotify, Rdio, and others. But if you’re serious about your music, the monthly fee is a small price to pay. With the “Beats by Dr. Dre” headphones, Iovine and Dre shook up the world of audio electronics (and made a fortune doing so). Now, with Reznor on board, they’re looking to do the same with how we get our music, not just how we listen to it. So far, so good.