Tag Archives: Beats Music

What’s a CD? Top 10 signs you’re dealing with a digital native.

digital native jokes

I recently took a train ride with David Polinchock (@polinchock), a technologist I had met over decade ago through James Andrews (@keyinfluencer) when I was still in private practice.

David was part of the Entertainment Technology Center, a division of Carnegie Mellon’s research arm that sought to leverage academic brain power with business.

Back then, we launched a sponsored research project to develop the DigiBoxx, a self-serve kiosk for music, where you could refill your iPod or MP3 device with music on the go.

This was 2003 (or ’04) long before the arrival of multi-gig devices capable of storing buttloads of music.

And while we didn’t have license the first to address all those pesky copyright issues, we did develop a working POC and that was a start.

Fast forward to 2015, and David and I are still pushing the envelope.

No longer the bright-eyed optimists, we chatted nonetheless about how far technology had come and what we saw on the horizon.

When the conversation turned to our kids, he talked about his daughter’s Digital Natives presentation at SXSW.

Come again? Say what?

Apparently, he had pitched SXSW to stop talking to old fogie stogies like us about technology and have actual digital natives – who only know the world of gadgets  speak from their unique perspective.

I was simultaneously offended, envious, and intrigued.

Who the fuck are you calling old?

I love SXSW. Why can’t I go?

Why aren’t my kids presenting at SXSW?

When I finally worked through my mixed emotions, I tuned back in to hear him describe a world view he gained listening to his daughter and her co-presenter.

Oh right…..some 12 or 13 year old child prodigy who builds his own computers co-presenter.

This is the era of Digital Natives.

Talking to David made me think about how technologically different the world is for today’s youth than it was for any other generation.

We’re not so far removed from floppy discs, but kids today only know USBs.

Their Boost mobile starter phones have more computing power today than desktop computers in most financial institutions a decade ago.

But rather than drone on endlessly about what digital natives are and are not, I figured I’d grace you with one of my top ten lists.

Here are the top ten signs that you’re dealing with a digital native.

1. They’ve never bought a CD. It’s not that they’ve never purchased music. They just don’t need all the bells and whistles of album jackets, jewel cases and shrink wrap. Long gone are the days where you rushed to the store to cop an vinyl album. Then went 8 tracks. Then cassettes. CDs are media evolution’s latest victim. Digital natives get their media the minute it comes out – online. And if they do buy it, it’ll be on iTunes.

2. Netflix is their Blockbuster. Remember rushing to Blockbuster to rent the latest hit movies on DVD? Digital natives don’t. In fact, they probably don’t even know what a Blockbuster is. Digital natives dial up their movies on Netflix or Hulu or HBO Go. Maybe they hit a Redbox (to give their parents that nostalgic home movie watching experience). But watching movies at home (or on the go) is a digital streaming experience.

blockbuster-closing-041210-webjpg-7775ba2fdd8fda15

Good riddance to you sir!

3. Screens are keyboards. Digital natives know only the world of touchscreen inputs devices. They tap not type. They text 50 wpm using just their thumbs. When I was in high school, I took a typing/word processing class. The target was 50 words per minute, and you were considered expert if you typed above that. Today, the screen on a mobile device is the equivalent of a keyboard and digital natives feel right at home typing – I mean tapping – away on their screens.

4. They’re OS agnostic. Digital natives are equally versed in iOS and Android. Unlike the old guard, they take no sides and have allegiance to the device that meets their needs in the moment. Today it’s more about utility than brand. If it works right, they’ll buy it. Brand be damned! Hence competition between device makers remains fierce.

5. Google is a dictionary. Digital natives Google everything. When I was a kid a dictionary and the encyclopedia were how I figured things out. Didn’t know how to spell a word or it’s definition? I looked it up. Want to know the capital of Kazakhstan? I looked it up – it’s Astana – BTW. Digital natives simply Google it. Can’t spell? No worries, Google will offer you the correctly spelled word as an option.

6. Apple radio station. ITunes is dead. Today, your iPhone has Music. No more iTunes. Digital natives live in a Beats Music+Apple world – which you get free for 30 days BTW. Pandora, Spotify, SoundCloud, MixCloud, and countless digital radio stations have made it such that terrestrial radio stations hold low sway over digital natives, who configure and share their own playlists and find artists through underground videos on the interwebs.

apple-music

7. Emoji is a language. When my kids got their mobile phones, virtually every text message included emojis. Not just one mind you, but streams of smiley faces, tear streaked to connote laughter, thumbs down to express disagreement – you get the picture. Emojis are in such high demand with digital natives that whole marketplaces developed for Facebook and Apple who both saw fit to add a bunch more to their keyboards.

emojis

8. Everything swipes. Tinder, Fruit Ninja, Zillow, everyone uses swipe navigation to streamline the digital natives’ user experience. Swipe navigation makes using mobile devices seamless allowing them to engage content in increasingly sophisticated ways. And as 3D technology and AR move content off screens into 4D space, digital natives are primed to creatively leverage these applications.

9. Gaming as a social activity. If you’re a parent, you want your kids outside getting exercise, socializing and interacting with other kids. For digital natives, gaming is social. Most gaming systems (and virtually all computer games) let you play against other gamers virtually. And with immersive VR worlds and Google Cardboard, you can still be outside inside.

10. Multi-taking is the norm. Digital natives are comfortable using multiple screens simultaneously. Measuring how many screens a viewer uses while watching a program is a thing marketers track and want to know because digital natives rock multiple devices as matter of course. This always on always accessible characteristic defines digital natives.

digital multi-tasking

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Day 7: Beats Music earns a temporary reprieve. UPDATED

UPDATE: Since the writing of this post, Beats Music has intermittently stopped mid-stream on too many occasions to mention, on both the app and the web. While I had report (later in this article) that the fix that they applied worked, apparently, it has not. Verdict, Beats Music has a ways to go before I’d part with a red cent for it. Period.

A little over a week ago I downloaded the Beats Music app and was thoroughly unimpressed with the offering.

While it looked good and boasted a host of impressive features and capabilities, my first impression was that it was a buggy app, plagued with technical difficulties.

And due to apparently high demand created by the buzz of its launch, there was a serious backlog to get registered, which ran completely counter to the instant gratification culture of Beats Music’s target demographic.

Combined with a relatively short trial period, I projected that Beats was a cute idea, but outside of a few chumps who easily part with their dough just to be a billboard for some brand, real streaming music aficionados weren’t going to be swayed by Beats’ technically challenged offering.

A few days later, when my registration was approved and I was able to experience Beats Music, my stance softened.

The interface was fresh. Not as intuitive as I would have liked, but interesting and visually appealing.

Beats Music interface

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With options aplenty, but not so many that you needed a user manual, I was able to dive right in and get my Beats on.

But then those technical glitches reared their ugly heads and ruined everything.

Streams would stop mid-play, buttons would suddenly become unresponsive and all navigation inoperable.

On more than one occasion, I found myself quitting the app and restarting.

By the fourth day of my seven day trial, the app had stopped working completely.

Quite the ignominious start.

But then Beats Music did something that completely erased the maddening frustration of their (what was now a) pretty crappy app, and restored my faith in them.

They sent an email acknowledging that their shit was broken.

The outlined what they were doing to fix it and extended the trial period for another week.

Yeah, our shit broke. We fixed it. Now what?

Yeah, our shit broke. We fixed it. Now what?

Clearly someone at Beats had some customer service home training.

True to their word, their technicians had done something to eliminate the bugginess of their app.

More bandwidth? Redundant server arrays? Better on-device caching? Something.

And as a result, I’ve been able to take Beats for a true test drive.

And do you know what? Beats Music is everything they said it would be.

They’ve got playlists for days , of all kinds, by genre, mood, curator, activity.

There’s a cool, “The Sentence” option that creates playlists from a sentence you configure.

Beats Music The Sentence

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You can mine down into individual artists within a playlist and create playlists of your own.

There’s even a nifty mode that allows you to listen to a playlist offline, that’s created from the playlists and songs you listened to while you had cellular or wifi access.

Although some have complained that Beats Music’s classical selection leaves much to be desired, I’ve taken deep dives into their jazz, hip hop, reggae, world, 90s and rock collections, and have come away deeply satisfied.

My one criticism of the app is that navigating isn’t as intuitive as I’d like.

Once you select a playlist, genre or song, getting back to the home screen takes a bit of maneuvering.

And the playlists, while diverse, are woefully short.

Just when you start to get into the groove, it’s over.

I found myself wishing that each playlist was just a little longer.

But these criticisms pale in comparison to the chasm of woefully deficiency Beats  managed to fill with their mea culpa and update.

For those of your who swear by Spotify, Pandora or any other paid streaming service, I challenge you to give Beats a try.

Now that they’ve got their shit together, you just might be impressed enough to switch.

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Will Beats Music ‘beat’ the streaming music competition? Not with their technology they won’t.

UPDATE: I’ve reviewed the Beats app and you can check it out here.

Beats Music iOS

There’s a new player in the streaming music game, Beats Music.

Yes, Beats as in “Beats By Dre.”

Now at this point, I’d be telling you all about the ‘test drive’ I took of the app, and my general impressions.

But noooo. Beats Music isn’t that simple.

You see, I downloaded the app today, but getting up and running was anything but straightforward.

At the signup page, there were two options: “Sign Up” and “Log In.”

Beats Music Sign Up

I hit “Sign Up” as the service is new and I didn’t think I could use my MOG account.

After completing a few fields, I got a “Registration is Processing” alert.

Beats Music Registration is Processing

Processing? Am I being vetted?

So I took the other route and hit “Log In”.

What’s the harm right?

There was an option to login using either Facebook or Twitter.

Beats Music Log In Facebook or Twitter

I selected Facebook and after a few more pre-populated data entry fields, I got to a “You’re Almost Ready” screen, which I took to mean that I was almost done.

But noooo. Beats Music isn’t that simple.

When I hit “Submit” the screen kinda acted like it wanted to go on to the next step, but stalled.

I tried to click submit several times and several times the app almost did something, and then gave up.

Eventually, I got a “We’re Having Connection Problems.” message and gave up.

Beats Music We're Having Connection Problems.

So I can’t tell you whether Beats Music is any good or not.

But if you look at their website, it’s awesome.

Beats Music Site

It’s only logical that Dr. Dre brings his storied music brand to the streaming music arena.

Who better to help you curate the music thats playing on your Beats By Dre headphones than Dre himself?

Now I have no idea if Dr. Dre actually has anything to do with the introduction of Beats Music, but who cares?

Beats Music is actually a collaboration by Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine and Trent Reznor.

The fact is that you now have (yet) another streaming service for your iOS or Android device.

If Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Radio, et als aren’t doing it for you, theres a new player ready to disappoint!

And I say disappoint because unlike the other players, who offer ad-free and ad-supported versions of their streaming services, Beats Music has only one speed: premium.

That’s right. Beats Music is a pay to play stream service.

After the seven day trial expires, you’re going to have to fork over $9.99 a month for the privilege of spotty streaming service.

I’m sure it will be great to listen to a stream without those damned commercial interruptions.

That’s because one of Beats Music’s selling points is it’s music curation.

Unlike radio, whose music is determined by some music programmer, or most other streaming services, whose playlists are determined by some algorithm, Beats Music’s titles are curated by real people.

Allegedly, Beats Music employs a bunch of so-called ‘music experts’ to curate it’s playlists, which should mean a better listening experience.

That should be a welcome change to folks who don’t want bots telling them what to listen to.

I’d much rather have my music choices picked by a music nerd than a bot any day!

More important than the human music selection of Beats Music, is the heavy brand recognition that they’ve already built up.

If I had to put up money on who was going to come out on top of the whole steaming music competition, I’d have to go with the guys who have already proven themselves at getting folks ot part with their cash for substandard shit.

If you’re going to part ways with several hundred dollars for a pair of booty ‘branded’ headphones, it’s not a stretch that you’ll part with a few buck a month to listen to a ‘branded’ stream.

Now, I’ve yet to check out whether Beats Music is materially different from other streaming services, in terms of content.

I can say that Beats Music SUCKS in terms of technology because the damn thing doesn’t even work.

Perhaps the demand is so great that their servers are down – yeah that’s the ticket – and they’re overwhelmed with traffic.

Perhaps I will get an email and my registration will go through – one day.

Or perhaps not and I’ll be ignorant of Beats Music forever.

But if this snafu is illustrative of what the rest of the Beats Music experience is like – I’ll keep my $10, thank you very much.

Note to self: update this post if you do get an update from Beats Music.

 

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