Trent Reznor and Jimmy Iovine's streaming music service is nearly here. On January 21st, Beats Music will arrive on iOS, Android, Windows, and the web for a $9.99 monthly subscription. The service, originally known as Daisy, uses a combination of algorithms and human curation to suggest songs, and claims to have a staff of music experts "hand-selecting your playlists while you stream." The company's betting that curation will set Beats Music apart from the music streaming competition, like Spotify and Rdio, and it's not alone in that bet — as rumored, AT&T has an exclusive partnership with Beats Music for a special $14.99 a month family plan.
Perks for AT&T subscribers
While the standard $9.99 monthly subscription lets a single user stream songs to three devices, the AT&T-exclusive $14.99 family plan will let five users stream to ten devices in total. You'll also need to have a cellular family plan through AT&T, though, or a multiline account of some other sort. AT&T customers also get to try the service free for 30 days, or 90 days for families, while non-AT&T customers only get a 7-day free trial. AT&T tells The Verge that Beats Music will not take advantage of its controversial Sponsored Data feature at this time.
In addition to streaming audio, Beats Music will also offer unlimited downloads of songs for local playback for as long as users maintain their subscription. The service will start with some 20 million songs, according to the company.
Like Songza, music based on your mood
We got an early peek at the service last week, and a couple other features stood out. While it can sometimes be difficult to find the "real" original version of a song on competing streaming services amidst all the covers, remixes, and karaoke versions, Beats puts the original tracks front and center. If you search for "Yesterday" by The Beatles, for example, you'll see it pop up first, and then you can tap a button if you want to see other versions. There's also a Mad Libs-esque feature that can create a playlist based on your mood. You can fill in the blanks to create sentences like "I'm at a party and feel like BBQing with my BFF to dance pop," as you can see in this picture of the Beats Music user interface obtained by GigaOm. Songza already does something similar.
According to The New York Times, Beats plans to heavily market the new service. There will be "regular plugs on The Ellen DeGeneres Show," prominent placement in Target stores, and a Super Bowl ad, according to the publication.
Update: Sonos has announced that Beats Music will be available "day one" on its wireless speaker systems.