The online music streaming industry has some tough competitors: Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Radio, along with others such as Songza, IHeartRadio, and last.fm. However, a new competitor has come to the industry and Dr. Dre isn’t afraid of a little competition (and possibly a saturated market). The strategies of Beats Music are these, according to the New York Times: “Be a smooth, entertaining and convincingly human guide to the cluttered universe of digital music, and exploit the power of its headphone brand through aggressive marketing.” I’ll be keeping tabs on this campaign to see if it truly does increase the sales of Beats headphones.
Beats Music is really not much different from Spotify. Users can pay $10 a month to have access to playlists and a basically unlimited amount to recorded music. However, Beats Music comes with a little twist: its design. The Beats Music app is made for mobile use and has graphics and an easy-to-use, customizable interface that designers claim will help attract listeners. It also has an increased focus on what song will play next. It will apparently have a spot-on skill for curating custom playlists, using algorithms similar to what Spotify or iTunes Radio use.
The app also comes with an automated listening game called “Right Now”. In this “game”, the user creates a Mad-Libs style sentence saying “I’m at the (place) and feel like (activity) with my (person) to (genre of music).” It’s almost a musical status update that creates a playlist to fit your activity, place, person, and ideal genre. According to reviewers, the playlists that come from these sentences tend to set the mood well but are no better than or worse than those created by Songza.
The Beats Music project has $60 million dollars invested behind it, and is connected to Beats Electronics, the maker of the Beats by Dre headphones. The marketing campaign also has an impressive amount of money put behind it, as it includes an integration with AT&T, plugs on the Ellen Show, and a Super Bowl ad starring Ellen.
Something that interested me most about Beats Music is how confident the producers of this app are that it will be successful. I’m slightly skeptical about online music streaming to begin with – is it really worth the price? And since we all know Dr. Dre does headphones, can he do a better Spotify? I just downloaded my free trial and am looking forward to finding out.
Sisario, B. (2014, January 11). Beats Music Enters Online Streaming Market. New York
Times. Retrieved February 7, 2014, from
The Ellen Show. [TheEllenShow]. (2014, February 1). Watch Ellen’s Beats Music
Commercial. [Video File]. Retrieved February 7, 2014, from