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Beats betting on curated playlists for upcoming music subscription service

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Jimmy Iovine ATD
Jimmy Iovine ATD

Jimmy Iovine's new project out of Beats will move beyond making bass-heavy headphones: It's the Daisy music subscription service that the company began touting earlier this year. It's based on the technology developed by MOG, an existing music streaming service which Beats purchased last March. Iovine is promising to provide listeners "what song comes next," with a special emphasis on curation. "There's a sea of music, there's an ocean of music out there," Iovine says, "and there's absolutely no curation for it."

Strangely, he says his new service isn't in competition with Spotify, saying that Spotify doesn't have the ability to serve up music that listeners want. He's also not worried about Apple or Google jumping in, "most technology companies [...] are not going to get curation right." Iovine kept repeating the mantra that the service would give you "what song comes next." Essentially, Beats is promising to create playlists that are customized to each listener created by music experts.

"There's a sea of music, there's an ocean of music out there, and there's absolutely no curation for it."

"We're going to have a mathematical and human solution" to curating music, Iovine says, because "the math solution [...] really doesn't work alone." It will likely create suggestions based on your current music library. The lists will also apparently respond to users' preferences and will allow members to create and share their own playlists. Iovine says that the music will "sound as good as it can sound right now," but he's more focused on building playlists rather than following the path that Neil Young is on with Pono.

Iovine said today at Dive into Media that he's hoping to launch the service this summer, a bit sooner than previous statements led us to believe. However, it sounds like a lot of the details are still in flux — Iovine suggested that the service might send information about each listener to the artists they're listening to. Curated playlists aren't exactly new in the music subscription area — both Spotify and Rdio have them. So Iovine's assertion that he can "marry math with emotion" in order to create a differentiator strikes us as unlikely. Chances are that the service will live or die by branding — just like the Beats headphones that preceded it.