Beats Audio Launches New Music Streaming App

Beats Audio Launches New Music Streaming App

Joe GransingerWednesday,22 January 2014

The Snap:

Beats Audio — you know, the company that pumps out those obnoxious, overpriced celebrity-endorsed headphones — has officially launched their new online streaming service, Beats Music. The company is taking a huge risk by joining an already developed — and saturated — market without a free subscription available, but will it pay off for the newcomer?

The app is currently available on iTunes, Android and Windows phones, and offers a 7-day free trial.

The Download:

Beats Music and Spotify now have a nearly identical music catalog, but let’s make one thing clear — this is no Spotify clone. Not only is Beats coming to the party three years late, it also doesn’t offer anything new, useful, or exciting.

The app does have some interesting features, though.

While setting up your account, it seems to be very interested in your personal taste in music. It will ask you what you like, what you love, and what you hate, and then have you select a few of your favorite artists, bands, and genres.

It will then proceed to ignore everything you just told it, and start force-feeding you garbage you don’t like.

One of the main discovery methods within the app is called ‘The Sentence’. It’s a mad-lib sentence editor that allows you to fill in the blanks with your current mood and location. The app then gives you music based on the sentence you’ve created.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work very well.

It immediately recommended a genre that I specifically said I hated (looking at you, country), and when I finally chose the right genre, the song selection was awful. In fact, most of the options originally recommended to me by ‘The Sentence’ were part of my ‘hate’ list.

Thankfully, there are other ways to listen, such as playlists constructed by ‘Music Experts’, or one that’s made ‘Just for You’. However, both options are also featured in just about every other music service available, and they already do it much, much better.

At $9.99 per month, the price of Beats Music isn’t exactly an incentive to switch, either, especially now that Spotify Mobile is free. Beats has no free, ad-supported version, and there’s no other subscriptions available. It’s $9.99 a month, that’s it.

Not a smart move.

Even the industry-leading Spotify is struggling to make a profit with only about 20% of Spotify’s users paying for the premium service (btw, that’s still about 3 million subscribers). But even the free users are generating some revenue through adverts, where Beats Music will either get the full amount, or get nothing.

What it essentially comes down to is this: if people wanted to pay to stream their music online, they’d already be doing it with Spotify. And if they’re already using Spotify, what does Beats Music offer to make them switch?

Nothing.

In Beats defense, the app is nicely designed and looks like a mix of Google Music and the Zune players of the old days. It flows nicely, is quick to respond, easy to navigate, and has only crashed on me five times in the past hour. But, other than the constant crashing — which I’ll chalk up to launch day glitches — the app is pretty nice and functions well.

In theory, the company could offer discounts to the suckers who purchase their headphones, but it’s still not going to be enough for them to survive. They better hope that the geniuses in the marketing department can come up with a real masterpiece for this one, because Beats Music isn’t going to dethrone any competitors at this point.

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Hat Tips:

Beats Music, Image Credit: Flickr



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