The issue of how a music service like Beats Music can distinguish itself is a tough one. Unless you buy into their playlists being something special as compared to all the other playlists, there's not much else there that's unique. But what is unique isn't in the service, it's in the relationships between people like Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre and a wide range of very popular musicians. While Beats Music isn't the first to do exclusives, getting an exclusive on a remix featuring Jay Z suggests the possibilities of what Beats can do based on such relationships.
Will.i.am recently discussed his role in Beats Music and his early encouragement of exclusives:
“We have this thing called Beats Music, right? Like, a year ago, before it really launched, I was like ‘Jimmy, this is really nuts.’ And he’s like ‘Really, what’s crazy?’ And I was like, ‘No, I should be making music exclusively for Beats.’ But only on Beats, Spotify can’t spot it if it’s only on Beats Music. We need to do Black Eyed Peas albums only on Beats.”
Will.i.am's take is actually more radical than anyone we've seen. I don't know of any bands of headline grabbing significance who've commited to one major streaming platform and one only.
Whether or not that comes about, for the moment we have an exclusive remix featuring Jay Z on Beats Music.
Jay Z + Beats by Dre Jungle Remix
The remix is for the Beats by Dre ad/short film that has gotten lots of positive coverage for grabbing the World Cup spotlight.
The YouTube version, shown above, is a little over a minute. The Beats Music exclusive is over 3 so there's clearly more to it and it would be worth it for a fan to sign up for a free trial and check it out.
In fact, though Beats launched this year with no free trials, they now have 14 day free trials after running 7 day trials for awhile.
Could Exclusives Set Beats Music Apart?
Exclusive releases are a smart short-term tactic but an even better long-term strategy.
Beats by Dre distinguished itself, in part, by commercial relationships with major musicians and athletes. Add to that the personal/professional relationships of individuals like Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre and all you really need is a deal to make the major labels happy. And they're already involved.
Though Spotify has had numerous exclusive releases, Beats Music has the chance to differentiate itself with such an approach and, if they wish, to take it much further.
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