Beats Music is being launched today to much fanfare and rightfully so. Using “music curation” as its main calling card, it’s a different take on a theme used by other competitive services. Whether the public views that as a good enough reason to shell out their $9.95 a month, we’ll soon see.
In the meantime, Spotify is attempting to steal Beats Music thunder at every turn, announcing that it will now provide unlimited free mobile streaming (with ads) on the same day that Beats Music announced its launch last week. Now comes the official day of the launch and Spotify is at it again, this time announcing that it’s considering a new feature that programs upcoming music to your heartbeat. It doesn’t matter if it actually introduces this feature or not, it’s a juicy enough story to be front and center in the news, and that’s what the company really wants.
Welcome to the streaming wars, where the potential pie is so large that each seemingly small move by the companies involved can have extreme strategic importance. You think retailers beat each other up? You ain’t seen nothing yet (to borrow a phrase from Messrs. Bachman and Turner). Prepare for the major back and forth bashing to come.
Streaming music is actually divided into two categories; the radio-like non-interactive, and those that are on-demand. Pandora and iTunes Radio fall into the first category, where the user is unable to access specific songs, only playlists that are fine-tuned by a proprietary algorithm to match the tastes of the listener. On-demand services include Spotify and Beats Music, where a song or album can be called up as the feeling hits you.
Most of the on-demand services actually blur the lines between non-interactive and true on-demand, as they also make suggestions or provide playlists, and even provide access to online radio stations as well. Beats Music takes the playlist idea a step further by having them provided by well-known music celebs, niche leaders, or vaunted “people in the know,” although iTunes Radio does something similar with its themed and featured “stations.” Read more on Forbes.
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