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Beats Music is launching January 21st -- here's a sneak peek

Brian Heater
01.11.14
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That's Beats' new streaming service. No surprise, of course. Seems like the Jimmy Iovine / Dr. Dre's red headphone-pushing company has been eyeing the space since the World Class Wreckin' Cru days. Last month, the company offered up a bit of information in the form of an online teaser, noting that it would finally be dropping in January. The exact date, it turns out, is the 21st, though the company happily let us download an iOS teaser of the offering (it'll be available on "nearly all the major platforms" at launch according to the company). The product is reportedly the culmination of two years of work, an attempt to approach music streaming from a different angle -- namely populism. The rep I spoke with told me the company sees many of the current streaming offerings as appealing primarily to the early adopter.

The first part of the solution is the "on-boarding" process. Here you tap bubbles on a series of screens, first designating your favorite genres (one tap for "like," two taps for "love" and holding down on the bubble to make it disappear -- take that, electronic music). Next up, do the same thing with artists, designating your favorites amongst the offerings. Then, the system begins "curating music based on what you like." The idea is somewhere between a Spotify and a Pandora, offering up custom playlists based on your listening habits, curation that will change as you continue to utilize the service. The playlists, as the company puts it, are based on ""feels like, not sounds like," and future iterations will also include options to make it possible to follow your listening habits based on location, so you can, say, get a workout playlist when you're at the gym.

The result of that initial curation is a page full of artwork not dissimilar from Spotify's current front page, offering up songs and playlists with big Play icons in the middle. This is called Just for You. Swipe to the right and you'll see the Right Now page, where you choose your location, activity and genre choice, so the app can build a playlist. Another swipe brings you to Highlights, a page of playlists curated by the "experts" and one more brings you to Find It, where you can search for music by Genre, Activities and Curators. All in all, it's a pretty promising offering, with a sharp and highly dynamic interface -- of course, it's hard to say how much the world is clamoring for another streaming offer. Though most of the ones that come along certainly don't have the marketing force of a Beats Music.

At launch, the service will offer up 20 million tracks for $10 a month.

In this article: beats, beatsmusic, music, streaming
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