January 17, 2014 at 4:33 pm

5 Ways ‘Beats Music’ Dances to a Different Drum

We’ve been wondering what Beats Music will look like since July 2012, when Beats Electronics bought the MOG music service, and also since July 2013, when Beats Music was still called “Project Daisy,” so-named after the dog of Beats Music president and COO Luke Wood.

After years of strategizing, redesigning, conceptualizing, and everything else that goes on at a start-up, Beats Music is ready to launch to the public on Monday — and really, people shouldn’t be too concerned about the delay, because all three big new music services of 2013 are now big new music services of 2014.

Here are five things to expect that you might not have been expecting:

1. Deep Onboarding

The first thing people notice when they use Beats Music is that it asks them for their favorite genres and artists. Options cascade down from the top of the screen. Tapping one you like makes it bigger, while disliking it makes it smaller, so really, you can fine-tune the artists and genres you’re into before getting started. You can apparently keep this process going as long as you want. Given that Beats Music is launching later than much of its competition, solving the “cold start” problem is important, and this looks to be a good approach to that.

2. Big-Budget Superbowl Ads

Beats Music will launch on Tuesday. Next Sunday, at the Superbowl, Beats Music will debut some sort of massive ad campaign. It’s not talking about what this ad will be about, but running any kind of ad during the Superbowl is incredibly expensive (last year it cost $4 million-and-up per spot). For this, Beats Music might have borrowed a trick from Beats by Dre, which partnered with larger companies (in this case, AT&T), which then funded the advertisements that pushed Beats headphones further into the mainstream. Our bet: Beats Music chief creative officer Trent Reznor will make an appearance (to the possible bafflement of some of Football America).

3. Strangely-Named Listening Scenarios

We’ve seen plenty of mood-based and activity-oriented music apps, but none attempt to target one’s activities quite so intriguingly specific as these screenshots (courtesy of Beats Music) suggest. If you really want to feel like you’re running with zombies…

or fingerpainting at band camp…

or being influenced by people who were influenced by Siouxsie & The Banshees …

…Beats Music purports to have you covered. If this really works, those are going to be some interesting playlists.

4. Family Bundle

Those of us who sometimes share music accounts with other members of our household know it pretty much ruins the automatic social music sharing features. When a certain person in my household, for instance, experienced an extreme Grateful Dead renaissance, my friends probably thought it was happening to me (it was not). To solve that problem, and possibly create a new generation of kids who think it makes sense to pay for an online music subscription, Beats Music partnered with AT&T. If you subscribe to AT&T Wireless, you can get up to five accounts in the same family, and everyone can have their own username.

5. Curated Playlists Out The Wazoo

We saved this one for last, because for quite a long time, this was the only thing anyone really knew about Beats Music: That it would focus on curated playlists from celebrities and other humans of possible interest (like Songza, but with more real, famous people). So, how does Beats Music do in this regard? From what we hear, the app already has many, many of these playlists, including handpicked entries from tastemakers like Pitchfork, Mojo, Rolling Stone, and more.

(Note: we do not have an early install of the app, but we know people who do.)

  • Tony Moody

    I’d be more interested in paying for this through ATT if it included any data used while accessing the service.