The long-awaited Beats music subscription service launches today in iOS and Android app stores with an emphasis on human music curation and personalization according to user location and mood. The company is led by Ian Rogers, former CEO of Topspin Media, and Creative Director Trent Reznor as well as former Clear Channel executive Julie Pilat. The service is a brand extension of the popular Beats By Dre headphones. In a deal with AT&T, Beats will get marketing support from the wireless provider and allow carrier billing for the monthly subscription service. The company also has a promotion in place with Target that will offer customers extended free trial periods, according to Billboard.
Beats puts an emphasis on music stations curated by well-known radio DJs and music figures. At launch the app asks the user to declare favorite genres and several favorite artists. From there it builds sections of suggested music, a stream that is contoured to mood and location and a selection of curated tracks. Tracks can be saved for offline listening or added to playlists. The app also allows you to drill into specific genres, playlists around circumstances (cooking, breakups, etc.) and curators. The service boasts 20 million songs.
While Beats has been highly anticipated because of its celebrity pedigree, it enters a cluttered marketplace. In addition to Internet radio stations from Pandora and Apple, music subscription services from Spotify, Google, Sony, Slacker and Rhapsody are vying for music lovers' attention. The push for music subscription and Internet radio service is heating up as the market in digital downloads appears to be peaking. After many years of fast growth, digital music tracks saw a 5.7% decline in unit sales and flat growth for albums in 2013.