Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine are taking on Apple's iTunes Radio, Pandora, Spotify, and others in the crowded streaming music field. This weekend, an affiliate of headphone company Beats Electronics announced a new streaming subscription service. It will launch in the U.S. on Jan. 21 and will cost $9.99 a month, the same as Spotify, after a free trial.
Backed by $60 million in investment, Beats Music's library has all the songs you'd ever want to listen to—20 million plus from all the major and independent labels. It's trying to distinguish itself from the crowded competition by focusing on personalization, curation and real life people—music industry veterans—to use their editorial expertise to deliver a custom music experience.
"The other services out there are much more utilities than music services," said Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers. "Instead of just being about access, our app is really answering the question 'what should I listen to?"
The service will offer four ways for listeners to find songs: "Just for you," a personalized selection of albums and playlists delivered multiple times a day to each user, customized based on users' preferences; "Right now," a playlist compiled from answers about location and activity; "Highlights," recommended playlists or albums compiled by the company's editorial staff; and "Find it," to search.
The company boasts that it is "developed and led by a team of executives that have spent their entire careers in the service of music, fans, and artists—Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre, Luke Wood, Trent Reznor, and Ian Rogers."
But what really could help distinguish Beats Music from the crowd is not just the fact that its headphones are a major established brand, but the fact that it could get a big promotional boost from its deals with AT&T and Target.
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AT&T wireless customers will have special access to a multiline account for $14.99 monthly, giving up to five family members access on 10 devices, with the first 90 days free. "The AT&T deal is our biggest distribution channel—it's the biggest thing that's been done in this space," Rogers said.
Target is the service's retail partner, which means it will offer a 30 day free trial with the purchase of certain devices, and Target will give its customers a free one month trial with any electronics and entertainment purchase.
Rogers played down the negative impact of the recent massive hack attack on Target. "Target's a great company; the Internet's the Wild West. We've all had to deal with hackers on some level and I think they've handled it really well."