Many have asked if there’s room for another music streaming app on the Internet. Pandora, Spotify, and iTunes Radio have long dominated the market, and recent products like Songza and Google Play Music are making a claim to the throne. Each service has their own differentiating format and price, so there’s no default layout for delivering music to the masses. Beats, however, might have jumped the pack with their new music service, which they described in a blog post as “bringing you the right song for right now."
In short, Beats Music appeals to the human being. It’s extremely intuitive, that's if users provide some information about the music they enjoy. First, I downloaded the Beats music app onto my Android phone (the app is available for Windows Phone and iPhone as well.) After installation, it asked me to sign in using my email address or one of my social media platforms, Twitter or Facebook. Then, the app took me to a separate screen where I had to identify what genres of music I enjoyed. One tap on the “R&B” bubble signifies that I ‘like’ this kind of music while a double tap on the “Hip-Hop” and “Indie” bubbles tells Beats that I ‘love’ the genre. On the other hand, pressing and holding “Country” meant that I ‘hate’ artists like Kenny Chesney and Garth Brooks.
If you’re skeptical about dedicating $10 a month to the app after the trial period, remember that there’s no other streaming music app that’s going to provide a playlist with the perfect blend of Mike Jones, Washed Out, Kanye West, and Tame Impala for you, which the BBQ Indie Mix does.
Things got more specific on the following page as they asked what three artists I enjoyed most out of a selected crop that they generated based off my recommendations on the previous page. To fully test the product, I picked artists that don’t have much correlation with one another: two taps for MF Doom, The Weeknd and Kid Cudi, and one tap for UGK and Washed Out. After 30 seconds, the Beats app made a few suggestions. With Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor at the helm—he’s the creative officer for Beats Music—teaming up with other industry bigwigs, it’s clear that the product was made by music guys and not computer programmers. The “Just for You” tab included numerous playlists from a number of curators and magazines that felt handpicked explicitly for my liking. And these aren’t lists that are sloppily thrown together. The “Scarface: Storytelling” playlist includes all of his evocative classics like “I Seen a Man Die” and “Mind Playin Tricks;” and “Outkast’s The 1990” playlist is the perfect introduction to one of music’s most renowned duos. Using a specialized algorithm, there are two albums under every playlist that are based off the user’s recent history and musical taste. These are all offered on the homepage, and get updated daily with new recommendations.
Then, there’s “The Sentence” section, a feature that allows a user to find different tracks by filling a Mad Libs-like sentence. So, I inserted that I was “IN THE CAR” & felt like “MAKING BAD CHOICES” with “MY ROOMMATE” to “HIP HOP” and the app played Pillage by Cappadonna. Then, I switched up “MY ROOMMATE” with “MY LOVER” and it played “Oh Boy” by Cam’Ron. It’s definitely a great feature that differentiates itself from other services and keeps the user’s attention with its spontaneity.
However, as expected, there are some issues. Currently, Beats Music is going through a serious traffic jam as thousands of users rushed to download the service early this week and it has led to a number of bugs and glitches when users stream their music. As a result, the company extended the app’s trial period from one week to two weeks, so users can get the full no-hassle experience. There’s also little gripes like album and song dates being wrong. For those looking to use Beats Web version, it’s awfully limited. There’s no “The Sentence” feature and I couldn’t create playlists. It’s clear that this was built with mobile listening being the focal point.
If you’re skeptical about dedicating $10 a month to the app after the trial period, remember that there’s no other streaming music app that’s going to provide a playlist with the perfect blend of Mike Jones, Washed Out, Kanye West, and Tame Impala for you, which the BBQ Indie Mix does. Nor is there any replica feature for “The Sentence” anywhere on any platform. Google Play is a great product and one that has served me well up until now, but if Beats can fix the minor glitches and stay sharp with their curation, it could become the best music app on the market in 2014.
Now, excuse me while I listen to this Best of Roc-A-Fella playlist.