UPDATED: Beats Music, the streaming music service founded by Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre, Luke Wood, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and Ian Rogers, will launch January 21st, according to an official announcement from the Beats Electronics subsidiary. Beats Music launches in a competitive sector as a premium service: there is no free tier like most of rivals, and there's a strong emphasis on expert curation.
Available on iOS, Android and Windows, says it will pay the same royalty rate to both major and indie labels and artists. That's an inequity that Spotify, who has several major labels as shareholders, has been accused of. Beats also says they will provide a platform for greater fan interaction. [Last year, when Rogers moved from Topspin to helm Beats Music, both companies said that Topspin would be part of the Beats artist integration. We've asked for confirmation.]
"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.
Beats enters a crowded streaming music marketplace behind Spotify, Deeezer and others; with YouTube expected to join in the coming months. So, why Beats? The founders says Beats Music was designed to answer two questions: “What should I listen to?” and “what song comes next?”. To accomplish that, Beats features include:
- 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."
No Free Tier, AT&T and Target Discounts
Unlike most of its competitors, Beat Music has no free tier; offering only a 30 day free trial then charging the standard $9.99 a month. To jump start adoption, they've made two major partnership deals:
- Through an exclusive deal with AT&T, Beats Music will be available to customers on a multiline account for $14.99 a month for up to five family members across 10 devices. For a limited time, AT&T wireless customers who subscribe to the family offer of Beats Music get the first 90 days free starting January 24th.
- Target will offer 30-day free trial cards with the purchase of select electronic items and Beats Music gift cards, and a 30-day free trial for all Target Red Card holders.